David dragged us off to some place he'd heard about. We ended up in the idiotically—or perhaps ironically—named Destination. Actually not a bad place at all. Not a terribly adventurous tap selection, but they did have a helpful barmaid, Melissa, and there was Southampton Pumpkin Ale on tap. Unlike the River Horse, this had plenty of pumpkin pie spice: nutmeg, mace, cinnamon—just the way I like it! At this point, David realized the place that he meant to bring us to was right next door.
Drop Off Service is a former laundromat and now a hopping beer joint! Kitty served me up an Old Peckerhead... or was that Old Speckled Hen? Anyway, a fine and reliable British ale. We were bewitched by the fetching Amanda who was making the rounds and casting spells. While the thought of staying here certainly had its charms, We, being peripatetic souls, downed our quaff and moved on.
Our next and final stop found Dan, David, "P" and I at Hop Devil Grill. I was really jonesing for some Southwest Chicken Sliders, but alas, the grill was closed for the night. The consolation prize was worth it, though: tonight, the Devil had Sprecher Special Amber Lager on tap!
A little over 20 years ago, I had the good fortune to visit Milwaukee for the wedding of two dear college friends from my fratority, Beta Phi Delta. I highly recommend the Miller Brewery tour for all of the whirring, mechanized, insanity of large-scale American manufacturing ingenuity at its best! It's truly amazing to watch all of those bottles of MGD being filled, capped, labeled and packed in the bllnk of an eye!
But the highlight of my time in Milwaukee was definitely the Sprecher Brewery tour. Hidden in a stinky tanning district downtown, was a small-time craft brewer, making beer the old fashioned way—long before it was any kind of a trend in America. As with any brewery tour, you finish in the taproom. Here though, it was with the brewer, Randy Sprecher himself, and you were tapping a 500-gallon vat of the freshest, most subtly complex beer I had ever tasted! There were caramel and spice notes, and piney fresh hops. It was truly a religious experience! I had an epiphany right then and there: "Life is too short to drink anything but great beer!"
20 years later and I haven't looked back. I can't say I haven't had an occasional Bud or a Heinekin since then (after all, "any port in a storm!"), but that Special Amber started a fun and richly rewarding lifestyle that's at the core of the DNO mission.
Sprecher, too, has evolved. They are well known for their outstanding non-alcholholic root beer and they make a hell of a Hefe-Weiss! It's only recently that bottles and kegs of their fine brews have made it out this way. Hop Devil sometimes has this on tap or in bottles, so if you're in the area (St. Mark's near Avenue A), it's well worth stopping in for.
I think there may have been a Flying Dog Raging Bitch 8.3% Belgian-style IPA in there before we finally stumbled out of that god-forsaken den of iniquity. Somehow, we ended up at the new IHOP on 14th St. for a much-needed dose of sobriety. Another legendary DNO for the ages!
211 Avenue A,
New York, NY 10009
Drop Off Service
211 Avenue A,
New York, NY 10009