May 24, 2012

May is always one of those tricky months: Thurdsday often lands either on some end-of-semester event, such as an exam, or David's birthday. This year was no exception, so we opted for Fourthsday instead. After postponing our visit here last month, we decided to give this new joint a try.

First to arrive, I took a peek upstairs. There's a loooong bar—maybe forty feet—with scads of brews on tap. While it was tempting, it was also crowded and noisy, so I opted to wait downstairs, where there were seats at the bar and a friendly barman. In typical New York City fashion, the first floor is basically just an entrance to the upstairs—there's maybe three tables and a bar with ten stools. There's dark wood paneling and a tinm ceiling.

This bar is optimized for the hardcore drinking commuter: You can slip in and hammer down a few before your bus leaves from the Port Authority Bus Terminal across the street. There are only eight taps here and a fine selection of top-shelf spirits to help you on your way.

I started the summer off with a Hoegaarden Wit (5% ABV). It was my first taste of alcohol in a month and it did not disappoint! Regular readers know my affection for this class-defining Belgian hefeweissen; it has a perfect finish, rich in orange peel and coriander, and fresh, it can't be beat as a summer quaff!

This was followed by a Harpoon IPA (5.8% ABV). My friend Marc (who goes by the name "Whisky"), refers to this as a "gateway beer." It's one of the first craft beers available in Massachusetts, where we hail from: "Remember the days when it was the ONLY beer with color and taste?" To be honest, I'm not a huge IPA fan, but this one is really smooth and nicely balanced. It's a bit light on the mouthfeel, but frankly, that's a plus on this extrememly humid night in NYC!

Three blokes from Middlesborough (England) dropped in for a quick brew. Ever eager to propmote New York State beers, I recommended they try the local product, Brooklyn Lager. I should have known they were ale men. "It's a little bit like beer, in't it?" Ah well.

Third round was a fine Irish import, Ohara's Celtic Stout (4.3% ABV). Drier than Guinness, it's a great session beer, perfect for sipping.

Next up was a round of Victory Headwaters Pale Ales. This was quite fruity, hoppy and perfectly balanced. We must be having an effect on "P": even he ordered a Headwaters! And to think he only used to order wheat beers... "Seeing you guys enjoy this, I'm getting more adventurous." [more... =>]

Beer Authority,
300 West 40th
New York NY 10018
(212) 510-8415

The downstairs bar

Fleet Week

What it looked like. Click to see what it felt like.

"P" harrassing the patrons

"P", Peter & Debra

One of the many amazing things about New York City is Fleet Week. Naval ships from all over the world converge on the harbor to show off their vessels and earn some much-needed leave. Tonight, the streets were crawling with able seamen (and seawomen) in dress whites. A group of guys from the USS Wasp decscended on the bar. That's when the drinking amped up a notch.

A second Hoegaarden was chased by a shot of MacCallan 12 as we toasted our boys. Our fantastic barman, Peter, bought me a Harpoon to sip while "Lemon" (apparently his real name) bent my ear about his plans to buy up middle-class housing in Central Pennsylvania after his stint in the Navy was over. As he consumed more alcohol, this evolved into a kind of a sales pitch in his quest to find financial partners. I tried to explain that he was barking up the wrong tree by talking to me, but he wouldn't have it! A shot of Patron Tequila sealed the deal (what the deal was, I have no idea)! David and I were sure that Lemon's shipmate (Keith?) was winning over a pretty young woman at the bar. We even tried to get "P" to leave them alone, but all of a sudden, these guys left just as quickly as they had arrived, so Debra joined us for a few before her bus ride back to Teaneck.

My notes got increasingly sketchy as the night wore on, but I have something about a Heaven and Hell Party in Long Island (apparently, there really is such a thing); she was an angel, of course. According to the notes this was thrown by Super-Stickyman, someone she knew from her months at Rutgers. Is it just me, or are kids these days incomprehensible? Anyway, eventually "P" and I called it night, David having already left at some point (I think). Beer Authority turned out to be a fun joint. Another classic DNO in the books.