Beer In the USA: Land Of Opportunity (To Drink Great Beer) Part I

February 21, 2013

pony bar craft beer nyc

While in New York City, we visited many pubs and bars to sample a wide range of American craft beer from different parts of the United States. I know we didn’t even begin to scratch the surface, but in this first part, I’ve included the “Eastern Conference” breweries.

pony bar beer Beer In the USA: Land Of Opportunity (To Drink Great Beer) Part I

Landbrot (137 7th Ave S, NYC, www.landbrotbakery.com)

This brewakery (brewery/bakery) has two locations, the West Village one we stumbled upon and also in the Lower East Side. The food looked good, but we only had time for the beer:

Höss Doppel Hirsch (7.2%) – this strong, dark beer is brewed with at least 75 % dark malt and has a distinctive malty and velvety taste with light hop bitter.

Höss Holzar (5.2%) – labelled as an original old Allgäu brewing specialty, this amber beer is bottom-fermented and has the taste of dark brewing malt with a well-rounded bitter touch.

The Pony Bar (637 10th Ave at 45th, NYC, www.theponybar.com)

pony bar nyc Beer In the USA: Land Of Opportunity (To Drink Great Beer) Part I

Hat’s off to Andrea for her fantastic research before we arrived in NYC. This was the pick of the trip and when we arrived only five minutes after the opening hour, the place was already packed. True to form, we got stuck into some local brews:

Singlecut Beersmiths (19-33 37th St, Astoria, NY, www.singlecutbeer.com)

Pacific NW Dean Mahogany Ale (6%) – made with Pacific NW hops and malt attitude, I could’ve swum in this beer for hours. An absolute highlight!

Ruckus Brewing Company (261 W 35th St, NYC, www.ruckusbrewing.com)

Hoptimus Prime (9%) – this double IPA contains five different hop varieties, then dry hopped for two weeks. The massive hop flavour was perfectly balanced with three types of malt. Gimme more!

Coopers Craft & Kitchen (87 2nd Ave, NYC, www.coopersnyc.com)

coopers craft kitchen nyc Beer In the USA: Land Of Opportunity (To Drink Great Beer) Part I

This was another place we discovered that didn’t disappoint. A great range of beers and good food to boot. I had a four mini-pint sampler here, chosen strictly by name. Two are mentioned here and the others are covered in Part II:

Southern Tier Brewing Company (2072 Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, NY, www.stbcbeer.com)

2XMAS (8%) – a double spiced ale with two varieties of hops and four varieties of malts. Figs, orange peels and the like give it that sweet taste with aromas of mulled wine. I’m not usually a fan of seasonal Christmas brews, but this was delightful.

Smuttynose Brewing Company (225 Heritage Ave, Portsmouth, NH, www.smuttynose.com)

Robust Porter (6.2%) – this hearty, mahogany coloured ale is a very drinkable beer, characterized by its well-balanced malt and hops, plus subtle notes of coffee and chocolate. I can’t say enough about my love for porters and this one was amazing.

Heartland Brewery (35 Union Square W, NYC, www.heartlandbrewery.com)

Andrea first brought me here in 2009 and while it’s a chain establishment with many locations in the city, the beer they brew is still very good:

Red Rooster Ale (5.5%) – a red ale with a rich toffee and roasted nut character. Lots of American hops made it the perfect accompaniment for my chicken tenders.

Farmer Jon’s Oatmeal Stout (6%) – this creamy oatmeal stout has hints of espresso and a dark chocolate sweetness. I indulged in a piece of their cookie pie along with the beer. Delicious!

The Stag’s Head (252 E 51st St, NYC, www.thestagsheadnyc.com)

stags head menu nyc Beer In the USA: Land Of Opportunity (To Drink Great Beer) Part I

This was my second favourite pick of the pubs we discovered. The extensive number of beers listed on the chalkboard made it a lucky dip where everyone’s a winner! Here’s one I had while the other is in Part II:

Victory Brewing Company (420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, PA, www.victorybeer.com)

Moonglow Weizenbock (8.7%) – a dark amber wheat beer featuring fruity and spicy aromas. It’s also unfiltered (which I adore) with a unique yeast strain. I first encountered weizenbock beer in Vienna in 2011 and it’s enjoyed all over Bavaria too. Fantastisch!

Jimmy’s No. 43 (43 E 7th St, NYC, www.jimmysno43.com)

A great little place downstairs from a different pub above. Don’t be fooled and walk into the wrong one! I would’ve loved to stay longer for more beers and tempting food, but research is hard work!

Wandering Star Craft Brewery (11 Gifford Street, Pittsfield, MA, www.wanderingstarbrewing.com)

Red Nose Rye Spiced Winter Rye (6.7%) – a festive, subtle-spiced ale with being overly spicy or drowning the underlying beer. I’ve got stuck into rye beers since being in Norway and I really liked this drop.

Knife & Fork Inn (3600 Atlantic Ave, Atlantic City, NJ, www.knifeandforkinn.com)

I have to mention the fantastic Knife & Fork Inn we visited when gambling the night away during our stay in AC. The food was great, but the beer was even better!

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (6 Cannery Village Center, Milton, DE, www.dogfish.com)

Bitches Brew (9%) – a bold, dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root. That’s a truly delectable mouthful if ever I’ve heard one! I opened with this beer before the food came and while many may say stouts before dinner is a no-no, it definitely hit the spot for the poker night ahead.

My Antonia Pilsner (7.5%) – a continually-hopped imperial pils that’s citrusy, sweet and refined. I’ve never seen a pilsner with such a high alcoholic content and while we didn’t drink it at the Knife & Fork, I have to mention it because it was Andrea’s favourite beer of the trip.

my antonia Beer In the USA: Land Of Opportunity (To Drink Great Beer) Part I

Tröegs Brewing Company (200 E Hershey Park Dr, Hershey, PA, www.troegs.com)

Mad Elf Ale (11%) – brewed with honey and cherries and using spicy yeast, this knocked my socks off!

mad elf ale Beer In the USA: Land Of Opportunity (To Drink Great Beer) Part I

An honourable mention goes out to Brooklyn Brewery (www.brooklynbrewery.com). I’ve tried their beers many times before, but there were just too many others this time round!

What’s your favourite New York beer?

Part II

31 comments

  1. Pingback: Taste Testing New York City’s Trendy Restaurants (Part 2) :: InspiringTravellers.com - Travel the World

  2. Comment by memographer

    memographer Reply February 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Beer sampling is really hard to do…. I would stay in the first bar/pub after the very first sip of beer :) Thanks for the review!

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      You’re very welcome! Beer sampling is indeed hard, but very VERY rewarding :)

  3. Comment by The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) Reply February 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Smuttynose is great! Love Portsmouth, NH. Brooklyn Brewery is great next time you’re in the area. Haven’t done Dogfish yet but hope to once back in the US!

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Chosen by name, Smuttynose was indeed a great beer! Dogfish really do different and interesting beers and Brooklyn is always a fine experience.

  4. Comment by Jennifer

    Jennifer Reply February 22, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I didn’t realize that NYC had that many different breweries!

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Lots of breweries and I’d love to have the time to visit them all!

  5. Comment by Ali

    Ali Reply February 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I wouldn’t mind trying some of these! Especially Bitches Brew, just because it’s a funny name!

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      Bitches Brew is a great name and the beer started the night with a bang!

  6. Comment by The Guy

    The Guy Reply February 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Wow, you’ve tried a lot of beers, I bet that took a while. Being a Yorkshireman I prefer my home kind of ale which we fondly call bitter. I tend to find American and foreign beers more of a lager nature. With your review though and the mention of IPA I think I could have quite a jolly time drinking in New York.

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      There’s lagers, pale ales and then some! You’d have a fantastic time in NYC!

  7. Comment by Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista Reply February 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    You’ve accumulated quite a list of beers! Makes me want to go back to NYC because there are a few I missed :)

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      The list is long, but I wish I could make it even longer! All in due course ;)

  8. Comment by Cheryl

    Cheryl Reply February 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    It seems I have to go to NYC for beers now! :D

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      You sure do, Cheryl!

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      And so you should :) Everyone should love their home country’s beers and when the variety is this good, you sure have it made!

  9. Comment by Red Hunt

    Red Hunt Reply February 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Solid lineup here! Great beers and bars…I’ve been meaning to visit Pony Bar a long time, and some of these other places sound great.
    Hooray for beer travel!

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks very much!! Beer travel is indeed the way to go ;)

  10. Comment by Sarah Park

    Sarah Park Reply February 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I would love to taste the different beers found in NYC.

    • Comment by John

      John February 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      I hope you can use this list to start off with, Sarah!

  11. Pingback: Beer in the USA: Land of Opportunity (to Drink Great Beer) Part II :: InspiringTravellers.com - Travel the World

  12. Pingback: Beer in the USA: Land of Opportunity (to Drink Great Beer) Part II :: InspiringTravellers.com - Travel the World

  13. Comment by Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    Stephanie - The Travel Chica Reply March 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    There isn’t a NY beer that stands out in my mind, but I love that you can easily get great beers from around the country in most cities. I do believe the US has the best beer in the world.

    • Comment by John

      John March 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      The bigger the country, the greater the variety. That’s for sure!

  14. Comment by Sophie

    Sophie Reply March 4, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Wow, things have changed. When I lived in the USA (more than 20 years ago, admittedly), American beer, like coffee, was known for being f***ing close to water. Back then, we had to go to liquor stores to get the good stuff from Belgium, Australia, etc.

    • Comment by John

      John March 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Yeah Sophie, since microbreweries have become norm all over the world, the beer in the USA is in good hands! Variety is the spice of life :)

  15. Comment by John

    John Reply March 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Oh yeah, the beer is big ALL over the country :)

  16. Comment by Arianwen

    Arianwen Reply March 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I’ve never really thought of the US as being big on beer. This looks like a great selection!

  17. Comment by Jessie

    Jessie Reply March 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    There are so many really great breweries. The Irish Festival in Myrtle Beach this year promises to bring a lot of the small micro-breweries around NC and SC, and it is a great reason to get an early season deal on one of the resorts in Myrtle Beach SC – I can taste the hops now! Thomas Creek Beer, here I come!

    • Comment by John

      John March 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      That sounds fantastic, Jessie! Mmmm…hops :)

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