I arrived uncharacter-istically early (6:45 PM) at Burp Castle. It's pretty quiet. There's only ten people here, including me and the bartender. There are 12 Taps with exotic foreign and domestic craft brews that rotate on any given night, with a propensity for Belgian-style beers. The place is dark and there are some pretty bizarre murals depicting trappist monks in various states of distress. The one nearest my table features monks on a raft and riding casks of beer to escape the sharks.
The Southern Tier Warlock, at 10% ABV, stood out to me as a must-try. It's as black as sin. According to the website, it is made with two types of hops, four types of malts and pumpkins. The aroma and flavor are intended to evoke pumpkin pie spices. Maybe it's a little overpowered by the HUGE roasted maltiness, but to my taste buds, there are notes of vanilla, cardamom and fennel. It's an odd flavor for a beer—not necessarily bad, but unusual. I can defeinitely feel the alcohol, though! In the end I'm not sold, and given that Southern Tier makes the terrific Pumpking, I'm not sure Warlock stands up in comparison. That said, nothing diminishes my love for this Lakewood, NY brewer.
Brother Kevin arrived at 7 PM and proceded to order a Warlock. For Round Two, I opted for the Martens Witte (4.8% ABV) from Brouwerij Martens, in Belgium. It's fairly typical of its style: lemony, with a faint hint of coriander. Certainly drinkable, but just okay and hardly a Weihenstephaner or Hoegaarden.
It's the day after Hilary and Donald's third debate, so there's lots to talk—and laugh—about. Brother David arrived by 7:30 PM and DNO was on. Now I am not saying that David is loud, but when the level of conversation gets too high, the bar staff will say "shhhhhhhhh..." It's kinda charming actually, and one of the reasons I enjoy this joint. This policy tends to discourage the loud party types from staying. With Standings next door, and McSorley's halfway down the block, there are plenty of noisy alternatives nearby. David goes for a Fuller's ESB (5.9%). The hops are strong with this one! (and peppery...)
Though I was sorely tempted to stay and try the Tripel Karmeliet, we decided to head next door to Jimmy's No. 43, in the basement below Standings. I haven't been in this neighborhood in a while. On March 26, 2015, there was a major gas explosion that leveled three buildings and killed two people. Today, the corner next to Jimmy's is a large empty lot.
David and I decided to break tradition and go for the Indian Ladder Farms Cider. The cider is much drier than a typical hard cider, with hops grown on their Altamont, NY farm. I would definitely try this again! Good and tart!
Kevin, winding down, went for a half-pint of Echo of Nothing from Brooklyn's Threes Brewing. This 5.5% ABV brew is billed as a "Mexican Lager" that is "Assertive, White Pepper, Mellow Corn, Crushable." (Your guess is as good as mine as to what this means...)
At this point, my notes about the conversation ramble all over the place. Planning for the eclipse next summer and Kevin's secret desire to be a naked air traffic controller at next summer's Burning Man Festival. Summer Camp Stoners, Makerfaire, Kanye West and his sudden, concert-ending, trip to Paris, ComicCon and Marvel's Ready Girl—the Office of Emergency Management's preparedness superhero. After the cider, I finished with a shot of Auchentoshan single-malt Scotch. yum.
Even though the evening is not long—I am on a commuter train home by 11 PM—it still feels like a complete dad's night out. Can't wait for the next one!
41 East 7th St.,
New York, NY 10003
43 East 7th St.,
New York, NY 10003