The good folks who run Drop off Service in the East Village opened a new bar a year ago that caters to a discerning lot of craft beer lovers like The Dads—perfect for our monthly meeting. When I arrived, Kevin was pre-gaming at the far end of the bar. David seemed to manifest directly out of thin air. Spooky. Definitely a night for dark beers.
Round #1 was a Great South Bay Hog Cabin Maple Bacon Porter (6.5% ABV). This beer is exquisite! It's ultra-malty with a definite smokiness and a rich caramel flavor. If it has a fault, it's that it is so sweet as to nearly border on cloying. The MBP manages to avoid crossing over that edge because the sweetness is authentic—from roasted malts, not adjuncts like brown sugar. The more I taste from this Bay Shore, Long Island brewer, the more I like!
Round #2 was the Saranac Brewery's Java-nac Belgian Strong Ale (9.0% AVB). Sure it's served in a girly glass, but it's a manly girly glass! By contrast, this beer was much more sour than the Maple Bacon Porter. After my palate had a little time to adjust, it seemed appropriately sweet and malty. It also packs a punch.
When we get together for a DNO, we talk about a lot of crazy random stuff. David announced that he likes his beer like he likes his women: foamy, frothy & intoxicating! Kevin described his recent trip to Universal Studios Florida. He and his family started with Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott's, then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. After that, the rides get progressively scarier.
It has been a bittersweet week. Both actor Alan Rickman (Harry Potter, Die Hard, Love Actually) and musician David Bowie passed away, taken too young—at age 69—by cancer. When I was a kid, 69 seemed postively ancient! Now, as I age, it doesn't seem so old at all. All the more reason to toast two artists at the top of their fields! (We all find it kind of amazing that Iggy Pop is the last one standing.)
David and Kevin opted next for the SingleCut Beersmiths' More Cowbell! Chocolate Milk Stout (5.6% ABV), a sweet stout brewed in nearby Astoria, Queens. This brewery has been around for about three years, but this was the first time I'd ever heard of them. David, who is all over anything happening, acted like they've been around for-ev-ar. At any rate, it's always good form at DNO to allow a brother to taste whatever one orders. After a sip, I am not digging this beer; it's a bit too sour for my tastes. Apparently Kevin felt the same way. David, of course, loved it!
Round #3 for me was the Great South Bay Pro-Am Collaboration Series #7: Muscat Love Tripel (9.5%). Great beer, but seriously, people, if your brewery is called "Great South Bay," your beer needs to be two syllables max, like "Cleanser." Who seriously goes up to the bar in a noisy joint like this and says "Can I get a pint of that Great South Bay Pro-Am Collaboration Series Number Seven Muscat Love Tripel?" That's 20 damn syllables!
Anyway, this beer took gold in the Pro-Am category at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, beating 90 other beers. I can see why. The Muscat Love is crisp and tart—a bit like a Saison—a refreshing antidote to all of the maltiness that came before it and to follow. Brewed with Muscat Grape juice, it's very light in color and a honey note in there, too. Turns out the Maple Bacon Porter also took Gold in the Specialty Beer category.
We were able to snag a table at the front. David was dude enough to run next door to pickup Mexican food. Kevin next opted for the Arcadia Angler's Ale (5.1% ABV) from a cask. It's an English Pale Ale from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Kevin's home state. Round #4 was a Lake Placid Bean-to Coffee Stout (7.0% ABV). I'm a fan. This beer did not disappoint—definitely dusky and roasty. David opted for the Lagunitus Born Yesterday 2015, an American Pale Ale that clocks in at 6.5% ABV. It is spicy! It has strong notes of grapefruit. We found this well balanced and refreshing. As David so eloquently put it, "It's not a hop, hop, hop attitude!" Dr. Seuss would be proud.
It takes a particular badass dude to jump into the Atlantic Ocean in January 'round these parts. Kevin was assigned to work Coney Island for New Year's Eve; when morning came, he decided to go for the polar bear plunge. True, the weather has been unseasonably mild this year (so far), but the water temperature was still only around 50° F—cold enough to send the body into shock. Though Kev didn't completely dunk this year, he still went in over the shrinkage line.
It would unfair to dismiss Kevin as just a worrier: he's really a professional worrier. At an early DNO, Kevin announced he was most worried about a hurricane having landfall directly on New Orleans. Years later, that's exactly what Katrina did. These days, Kevin is most worried about the risk of having no water. Take that to the bank. I pass this on here as a public service—no agua, no cervesa.
So ends another solid Dad's Night Out, my friends. If this night was any indication, 2016 is going to be a great year!
575 2nd Avenue,
New York, NY 10016