Oct. 18, 2007

The Beers: Sixty-six beers on tap. No way in Hell I was going to get through them all.

Hofbrau Hefeweissen: a solid performer, smooth and wheaty, but still a notch below Widmer, Hoegaarden or current fave, the sublime Blanche de Brooklyn. I had two.

Youngs Chocolate Stout: a striking beer, there's no mistaking the chocolate flavoring, but frankly, I found it a little artificial. I like a beer whose flavors integrate and this one seemed like someone added chocolate syrup to a perfectly good stout.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale (Brooklyn Brewery): Wow! I've had this before, but what a difference between the bottled version and fresh-off-the-tap draft version! The Willamette Hops just blazed. Ultimately, a bit too hoppy for my preference, but undoubtedly a worthy quaff.

Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest: I remember this malty brew as a welcome alternative to the Pumpkin Ale. A righteous brew, although at this point, my beercuity† was beginning to suffer—could it have anything to do with the Oktoberfest's 5.5% gravity? ...Nah...

n., bir ⋅ kyoo′ ⋅ i ⋅ tee, The ability to discern subtle differences in the palate, aroma, finish & mouthfeel of different ales and lagers. Beercuity is inversely proportional to the amount of alchohol consumed, although this is somewhat mitigated by the consumption of food and the passage of time [cf. Martin's Law]. (from the High German bier, a fermented beverage made from barley malt and hops, and the Latin acutus, sharp).

BrewCam™: In the shadow of the Empire State

First Impression: Freakin' LOUD!

Second Impression: Freakin' CROWDED!

Okay, Okay! So how was I supposed to know? I picked this joint based on a recommendation by a waitress at a new Two Boots Pizzeria down by me. She raved about the 66-tap selection. Obviously, she'd never been here on Thurdsday at a quarter-to-eight!

Not only was it crowded, apparently it's a rule there that once you have your beer, you stand in front of the bar six and seven deep to maintain your access to the next beer. P. and I navigated to the front of the bar to get a view of the selection. While a few beers were listed above the bar, to see the full lineup you had to get a hold of the Beer Menu, which as luck would have it, meant barging through six or seven people to lift one off of the bar. According to P., the one in Dallas is even more crowded—who knew it was a chain?

Ultimately, P. and I decided to use the four-beer strategy: we split up to try to each get close enough to order two beers—if we were both successful, we'd each have to drink two beers—which, if you think about it, wouldn't be such a bad thing... I was having no luck, dealing with the usual bufoons who must have been sick that day in Kindergarten when they taught everybody how to wait in line. Eventually, P. scored a pair of Hofbrau Hefeweissens at the side of the bar.

Half of the taps at The Ginger Man

We lucked into a table tucked into the corner of the front of the place away from the door. It was so crowded, that when Kevin came in, he had to call my cell to find our table, and even then it took him several minutes to get to our table. At first, it was hard to get the attention of the waitress—although she and the staff had no trouble whisking our empty pints off of the table—eventually she warmed up to us and we were able to get food and more pints. (Special note: the Turkey Club was surprisingly good!)

But enough bitching and moaning! We did get a table and we drank really good fresh beer. The food was good, there was plenty of eye-candy and in time the crowd dwindled down to a level that was more in line with city fire inspectors' regulations. Kevin's friend and fellow dad, Jim, joined us. Anyone who orders a Rogue Dead Guy Ale can't be all that bad. Jim had clearly done his homework (thanks to this humble blog) and fit in immediately. Lively conversation and much laughter ensued.

I'm glad to have gotten The Ginger Man off of the punchlist, and while I'm not in a rush to go back there, it certainly met DNO requirements. But with mellower joints around, like current beertopia, Hop Devil Grill, why hassle with the crowds?