Hard to believe it had been six months since the last DNO. We've been meeting off and on since 2004. When the kids were small, it was relatively easy to find a sitter and make a regular time to hang. Over the past twelve years, the kids have grown into young adults with hectic schedules of their own. Mostly, though, things are busy at work and it has been hard to find time to set aside. This month was a good example. Only two of us could make it out, but with a little ingenuity we were able to cobble together a quorum for our 90th official DNO.
David and I agreed to meet at Top Hops on the Lower East Side. When we last visited this hip tapstore in 2012, it had just opened. It's nice to see a hip LES beer emporium thriving four years later. Set in a typical 25-foot wide New York City Tenement, the front is a comfortable area with a long bar with 20 taps of drafty goodness along the left-hand side and pub tables on the right. In back, there are more pub tables and refrigerator cases on either side featuring a nice selection of foreign and domestic craft brews.
When I arrived, David was working on a Sam Adams Got To Gose (4.8% ABV). This was weird. Not bad, just meh. It's a German Gose-style beer flavored with coriander, salt & pepper and a hint of cucumber. Really? Sam Adams has come up with a number of winners over the years. This beer, while light and summery was not memorable at all.
I opted for the Double Session Wit (4.5% ABV) from Finback Brewery of Ridgewood (Queens), NY. Their website describes is aptly, as: "This is a floral, spicy witbier “double sess(ion)” filled with ginger, szechuan peppercorns, and chamomile. It’s a wit without being cloying. For all the hefe-haters who want a great summer beer." As many of you know, I am not a hefe-hater, but I enjoyed this beer just the same. Refreshing and crisp! This led to a second round of a pair of Finbacks. If the rest of their beers are this good, you'll be hearing a lot more from them.
While walking back to our table with Round 2, I ran into Jason G., a student of mine from circa 1997! Jason's doing great these days, doing live sound professionally, and recording and mixing for Jorma Kaukonen & Hot Tuna. This night he was doing stage monitor mixing for Marc Ribot at the Bowery ballroom, a hop, skip & jump from Top Hops. Though we keep up on Facebook, it was great to reconnect in person!
We called Danny to see if he could join us, but he was at home taking care of his dad. So we did the next best thing: we brought DNO to Dan.
Dan lives a few short blocks from Top Hops so we bought a nice sixpack of Empire Brewing Compnany's Black Magic Stout (4.8 ABV) and brought it with us. If you enjoy a dry stout like Guinness, you'll find this similar, but with more of a mocha note. It's got a little bitterness to it, but that's a boon compared to a cloying and sweet stout. It's very nice—not up to the level of Keegan Ales' Joe Mama's Milk Stout, or Left Hand Brewery's Milk Stout—but to be fair, this was coming from a bottle, not a tap. I'd be curious to try it straight from the keg.
We shared the usual DNO small talk and shenanigans. This was the night of Hillary Clinton's acceptance of the Deocratic party nomination. A momentous night to be drinking beer if there ever was one.
94 Orchard St,
New York, NY 10002