You have to love a place that boldly announces "Brands we do not carry are Bud, Miller & Coors." The over thirty taps—half of them domestic craft brews—are the big draw here. Kevin was already at the bar when I arrived, and Dan joined shortly thereafter.
First up: Boulder Beer Co's cask-drawn Cold Hop British-Style Ale. It's sweet and fruity and floral and smoothly hopped—incredibly well balanced and carbonated. Dan & I only wished it had been a little bit colder on this steamy July day. Having just waxed poetic about it, I was intriguied to resample the Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier, this time with a slice of orange. It did not disappoint. An all around great summer quaff!
We got to talking with Val, our very knowledgable barkeep, and she recommended the Croxley Blonde Ale. Coming from a authentic Croxley Blonde, how could I refuse? It's a light and crisp Pilsener-style beer made in their Farmingdale, LI, brewpub. It was actually quite good, well worth trying, with none of the corn flavor found in Bud, Miller or Coors.
Next up was the Goose Island Summertime, a Kölsch beer from Chicago. It was hoppy, slightly acidic and not really my thing. I quickly passed this one off to Dan and ordered a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale.
Can there be ♥♥love♥♥ at first sip? 'Cause in that instant, I fell in love with this beer, fell in love with Val—Hell, I even fell in love with Kevin! Its flavor is complex and perfectly balanced. It's rich and malty, with notes of roast coffee and caramel. I could drink this any night, all night. The Old Brown Dog was definitely the best of the evening!
David and Robert soon joined us at the bar. I think it was Robert who ordered the Franziskaner Dunkel Weisse, a dark wheat beer from Germany. It had this great aroma of banana bread! We moved to a table for some food and were soon joined by Wally and Pradeep! I had an Ommegang Abbey Ale with my burger. This fruity and complex ale from Cooperstown is similar to the classic Belgian-style ales such as Chimay and Duvel. A worthy brew now available at Tops and Hops.
We talk about a lot of crazy schtuff at these things. There was a deep discussion of the relative merits of hallucinations brought on by sleep deprivation, versus those induced medically. "Gangrene Chicken" [no idea...] Someone noticed a college softball game on one of the many screens and commented that the athletes in the sport "are specifically chosen to make Toni Basil look good!" [Some quotes are best left unattributed...] How the best thing about draft beer is that it is a living thing. "Long Island Duck" [no idea...] We also hatched a plan to rent a cabin upstate for a DWO during the fall. Bring it on!!!
There was a Yankee game going, but we hardly even paid any attention to it. (For the record, the Yanks beat KC 10-4.) Some nights we bring a great group of guys together and, with enough beer flowing, we hit critical mass! This night turned out to be another classic DNO! Can't wait for the next one...