Thurdsday June 20, 2019

2018 was a helluva year. Between the passing of my father-in-law, trying evict a tenant from my dad's condo out of state, buying a home of my own for the first time, and finally selling my dad's condo, I had a lot on my plate. I was also very busy at work. There were several times I tried to organize a DNO, but there were also times that I'd suddenly realize it was Thurdsday and I'd missed the chance.

And for what it's worth, I've generally been drinking less frequently. Not that Dad's Night Out is exclusively about drinking—it's not—but there just seemed that I'd had less opportunities to imbibe.

This month I made a special effort to organize. I reached out to the usual suspects, but we've all been busy. Adding to the general busy-ness is the fact that what drew the dads together initially was when our kids were in daycare and elementary school together—many of these same kids were now graduating from College! In the end, we didn't have a quorum this month, just Kevin and me hanging out. Which was perfect anyway.

The Ginger Man is a 36th Street hangout popular with the after work crowd. On the plus side, the selection here, with 69 taps and over a hundred bottled and canned beers, is really quite good! On the minus, it's always incredibly LOUD here. A little sound absorption—a rug, a tapestry or two on the walls, maybe some sound-absorbing foam or clouds on the ceiling—would really help soften the "walla" of the lively conversation. While Kevin and I were able to hold a conversation just fine, it was really hard understanding our waiter. I'm not really sure what we were drinking!

It was the last night of Spring. I like to get a headstart on Summer by having a good wheat beer. On this night, my best option was a Weihenstephaner Krisallweisbier, a beer with fruity notes of citrus and banana. With an ABV of 5.4%, it's modestly heavy for a weisbier, but it's still sessionable. It's good, but it's no Hoegaarden or Hitachino Nest White Ale.

Kevin was drinking a dark and creamy stout. We think it was a Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Vanilla Bean Stout (2019). Holy Cow! It's very tasty, with strong coffee and caramel notes; and at 12% ABV, it will cure what ails ya! It's really sweet and heavy—but also a bit cloying. I love malty beers, but here I'd avocate for a touch more hops. Still, that's a quibble. I definitely would try more from this promising Amherst, WI brewer.

We were all set to order a pair of goblets of the Vanilla Bean, but the barrel had tapped out. Instead we ordered what we thought were DuClaw Brewing Co's Retribution. In retrospect, I am fairly confident (I think?) that we, in fact, ordered a pair of Firestone Walker Brewing Company's Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stouts. At least, that what I think the waiter said to us as we ordered. It's an unfortunate name, but (aside from that) it's an impressive beer. It's drier, crisper, and has a better moouthfeel than the stout from Central Waters. It's plenty heavy, but at 8.5 % ABV, you could conceivably drink two. And its chocolate and espresso notes are nicely balanced with hops. Terrific stout from Paso Robles, CA!

This was my third of five consecutive nights in New York City, a rarity for me since moving "upstate." Kevin's an early riser, so we called it relatively early. Hard to believe I was on a commuter train by 9:20! Like a fine cask-aged Bourbon Stout, we must be mellowing in our old age...

The Ginger Man
11 East 36th St.,
New York, NY 10016
(212) 532-1725

Changeable June weather--NYC is behind that cloud

Velvet Merkin: Richness in a goblet

The LOUD Crowd

Grand Central

Goodbye, old friend!


There are three things I bring to any Dad's Night Out (aside, of course, from a small wad of cash, my discerning palate, a spirit of bonhomie, and a love for a good story):

  1. A point-and-shoot flash camera (Nikon CoolPix 9000, in case you were curious)
  2. A pen
  3. A pocket-sized notepadk

The pocket-size is actually critically important. We are meeting in an urban environment and travelling to the month's chosen venue by foot, Citi-bike, subway, bus or commuter rail. Both the camera and notepad fit easily in a front shirt pocket—perfect for the Urban Surfer. A smart dad always travels light.

As of this month, DNO has been a thing for fifteen years! I've been documenting DNOs, with notepad in hand, like some earnest & dilligent cub reporter since September, 2006. I try to keep close tabs on what we have been drinking. When I say "we," it's a dad's night tradition that unless a brother is ill, we offer our comrades a sip of whatever it is we're drinking. Aisde from the obvious benefits to our immune systems as a result of sharing beers, it's also eminently practical: one dad can drink can only drink so much before the alcohol dulls the faculties. But with five dads, a dad can sample five times as many beers! Indeed, the blog you are reading is the product of fifteen years of trying all of these beers.

I've been using this particular notepad since April of 2013! There's most likely a blank page or two tucked amid the workman's scrawl, but the pages are stained with beer, the corners are dog-eared, the cover is falling off and it's finally time to retire this one.

So it is with a sigh and a mist in the eye, I bid sweet adieu to this beloved pocket companion. I raise a glass to you and all you have done for the cause of beer lovers everywhere!