May 21, 2015

The night began with a bang. Literally.

David and I agreed to meet at Pioneer's Bar NYC, a joint he had recently discovered. David's lived in Manhattan, oh, umpteeen years at least. One of the odd things about the City is that there are some blocks you just never have cause to travel on. West 29th Street, a mere five blocks from David's apartment is just such a place. There are a number of factors that might preclude your visiting. Sometimes one end of a block is closed on account of a building sitting there. There could be a construction project or a tunnel entrance that makes access to the block somewhat difficult.

But there are other, less obvious obstacles. There might be better lighting on one side of the street that discourages traveling on the other side. The Subway or the bus might stop only at even-numbered streets. Maybe there's a CitiBike stand that makes a different block a more likely path home. Perhaps a treasured hot dog stand or pizza joint draws one by. Any number of reasons... any number of unexplored blocks... which is why David only found Pioneer's after living in the neighborhood for years.

DNOs are nearly always held on a Thurdsday night. For many, that's payday. A bar that seems quite tame on a Sunday afternoon, can really rev it up on a Thurdsday. Such is the case with Pioneer's Bar. It was as loud as Jericho's Horns. I walked in, late after having missed the express train and looked around for David. The music was loud. The crowd was loud. North Dallas Forty showed on screens all over (with subtitles, so you could follow the story without having to hear that, too). It's not a huge place but I couldn't find David. I ordered the first Hoegaarden of the summah (yum!). After about ten minutes, I got a text from David offering to meet me for a bite before I arrived. I texted back that I had arrived already and was at the bar. Turns out that David was there already in the back. The lesson here is that it is important to scout out your locations at various times of the week prior to planning your DNO.

We sat at a large coffee table where there was a Giant Jenga game in process. Wisely, I elected to hold my Hoegaarden rather than put it on the table. Another patron was not so foresighted. As Newton put forth, "what goes up, must come down:" The inevitable conclusion of Jenga is a toppling tower and the spillage of brew. Taking our cue, we quickly ditched Pioneer's Bar.

After brief interlude of self-pollution at Five Guys Burgers & Fries, we made our way to Barcade NYC on 24th. We've been here several times before; still, we were carded (really?). While there were a few other offerings on tap, on this night there was a dizzying slection of 20 brews from Glosstah, MA brewer, Cape Ann Brewing Company. There was an IPA, a double IPA, a Dry-Spiced IPA, a Lager, a Pilsener, a Porter, a Sour Stout, a Pumpkin Stout, and an Imperial Pumpkin Stout... an so on.

The first round was a pair of Cape Ann Sunrise Saisons. It's mildly sour, as is typical for the style, and it's a bit spicy and fruity. David has this as grapefruity, but I lean more to lemony. It's nice, but unexceptional.

David began the next round with the Cape Ann Sour Stout. My brew was the Cape Ann Rock Porter. It's roasty, almost smoky, with rich notes of dark chocolate and espresso. It is definitely a step up from the Saison, but now that I've tried it, I have no burning desire to try it again.

Digging a little deeper after DNO, I found an interesting connection between Barcade and Cape Ann Brewing. The owner of the Barcade chain, Paul Kermizian, and the owner of Cape Ann Brewing, Jeremy Goldberg, both starred in American Beer: A Bockumentary (2002), which was directed by Kermizian. In it, five beer geeks travel by minivan across the U.S., visiting 38 breweries in 40 days.

Road trip, anyone?

Source: American Beer (film)

Pioneer's Bar NYC
138 W. 29th St.,
New York, NY 10001
(212) 714-2222

Barcade NY (Manhattan)
148 W. 24th Street,
New York, NY 10011
(212) 390-8455

Giant Jenga: Life in balance.

Giant Jenga: Life in the balance.

Giant Jenga: Life out of balance.

Giant Jenga: The inevitable result.

The Light Side: Steve and the Cape Ann Sunrise Saison cask ales

The Dark Side: David with the Reserve Sour Stout (left) and the Rock Porter (right)