I have to say I am no beer expert, and actually prefer wine and champagne but my husband and our friend are really into their craft beers, so visiting this place was a no brainer!
The selection of beer was incredible and I really was spoilt for choice - but don't worry the staff are really helpful and will advise on some suitable beers to try, and offer samples. I prefer light wheat type beers and was given 4 samples to try (sorry to say I cann't remember which one i got!) - there are also different glass sizes which is a great option, as a girl I really don't like drinking out of these huge pint glasses.
We didn't eat here, but sure after a few more beers we would have got some nibbles - they looked good what others were eating!
Good atmosphere again frequented by both locals and tourists. - all were welcome!
Favorite Dish: Beer!
It should come as no surprise that when it comes to beer, New York City has its share of great venues. Over the years I have had beer in a diverse group of bars ranging from sheer but cool dives to upscale beer cigar emporiums. However, with only two nights in the city I was going to have to be very discerning as to where I was going to imbibe the suds. I had found the city's brewpubs a bit lackluster and while there was no shortage of great beer bars, finding just the perfect two was not going to be an easy task. Did I rely on old favorite or was it finally time to get to that place I had never gotten to in the first place. So, I split the difference and did a bit of both. Believe me, walking by two locations of Heartland Brewing without stopping in for so much as one measly beer was not easy but when you are traveling with friends and even the most understanding and even beer-loving wife, one has to make compromises. You just can't do it all in a city like New York in what would amount to two days.
The place I had never been but always wanted to was The Blind Tiger Alehouse. I saw nothing but raves about it on the Internet and its beery pedigree could not be challenged. The 28 well-chosen beers on tap, a few casks for good measure, and even took credit cards. Ah, New York City, you talk a lot: let's have a look at ya. It was well-located, in the heart of the Village, on Bleeker Street no less. We left our friends to their shopping spree and told them to meet us at The Tiger when they were ready. While we did expect the jaded cool the place exuded, we hadn't counted on the Christmassy vibe that made it all the more welcoming. It was early so no problem getting a seat at the bar and with so many taps I just have to be in close proximity of my bartender to make the wise choices this type of place warrants. After all, you can only drink so much, especially in NYC where a pint of good beer can reach double digits. We noticed a plethora of beers from Speakeasy Brewing of San Francisco. Even though I've been to San Francisco on numerous occasions and have certainly drank my share of its fine beers, I had somehow not even heard of the place! With seven of their 30 taps (including both of their cask beers) featuring the brewery, I figured it HAD to be very good or they were getting an amazing deal on the stuff.
We took no prisoners by starting out with their cask Hunter's Porter (7.5%). I have learned not to save the best for last when it comes to cask beers as they can disappear before you get a mouthful and that is one empty mouth you don't want to experience. This oak-aged beauty was black with a dense tan head and featured a deep roast malt palate with hints of bitter chocolate. The long dry bittersweet finish made it hard not to just go for another but with so many more to try, it was even harder not to venture forth into unchartered Speakeasy territory. Next up was their cask Prohibition, another oak-aged brew with a deep amber hue, rich malty palate and slight oak notes in the long dry semi-sweet finish. It seemed the Hunter theme was big with Speakeasy as next up was their Oak-Aged Hunter (10%) which was black with a little tan head and a very rich deep chocolate malt palate with oak overtones in an obviously alcoholic yet dryish semi-sweet finish. As if two hunters were not enough, we sought out the one infused with cocoa nibs which was very similar to the above with a bit more chocolate to the palate and slightly sweeter in the finish. Needless to say we were getting pretty buzzed at this point and though we had eaten a few pizzas earlier over at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, we decided to get Murray's Cheese Plate. Though this was not cheap by any means, the selection of cheeses was outstanding and was garnished with some beautiful dried fruit and very choice walnuts. Oddly, the bread was less than a match for its plate-mates, considering NYC is noted for its bread. It was a savior none-the-less and went well with all the beers. It also paved the way for a round of Speakeasy's hoppier brews. Their Black IPA was a nice combination of roasty malt and big hops with a sublime dry bitter finish. The Speakeasy Imperial Red (9.5%) was deep amber and reminiscent of Pacific Northwest beers in this style-rich malt and big floral hops. The Double Daddy was a gorgeous Double IPA full of huge additions of both malt and hops, making for a dangerously drinkable brew with a clean dry finish.
Favorite Dish: I really can't remember how much the individual beers were but I do know that the bartenders utilized the old custom of giving every third beer for free which made the otherwise typically high NYC prices much more reasonable. The cheese plate was in the $15 range. The bill came to $72 and we left a $15 tip. Service was very attentive and knowledgeable. Overall, a really great place. I can't wait to go back again.
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