As I slowly conclude musings on my American food jobs, it would be unfair of me to neglect that dangerously wonderful substance that almost saw this blog descend into chaos – beer! So without further ado, here are my favourite American beer experiences…
From dive bars to high-end cocktails lounges, these two hipster beers, served in 12oz cans, followed me throughout my time in the States. Think Carling for cool cats. Of the two, I lent towards Tecate (mainly because its Mexican origin made it acceptable to drink with a lime, thereby hiding the taste). Still at about $2 bucks a pop, or $5 with a shot of bourbon, it was hard to refuse either when quantity, not quality was the order of play. Plus, what else was I going to Instagram?
2) Craft, Craft, Everywhere.
Tecate and PBRs aside, I was astounded by the amount of craft beer. Even the most basic bar offered at least 5 or more crafts on draft. When my former teapigs boss, Nick, visited NY we did our best to drink our way around Manhattan’s best beer bars. Cannibal & Jimmy’s No 43 stood out among the crowd. I drank so much flavoursome and interesting beer that by the time I reached LA, I was crying out for a generic lager. Never in my life have I missed a pint of Beck’s Vier!
3) Russian River Brewery.
On the subject on flavoursome beer, while farming in Sebastopol, my host Milo took me to the Russian River Brewery Co to sample “the world’s best IPA” – Pliny the Elder. With citrus notes and tons of flavour, this IPA was so well balanced it was easy to forget the 8% abv. However; their Supplication, a sour beer aged in pinot noir barrels, was my favourite beer of my time in America.
4) 4th on the 4th.
Arriving at Williamsburg’s Lucky Dogs on July 4th, I was invited to compete in the annual Independence Day beer chugging contest. A head to head knockout tournament, a pint per round. A lot of large looking frat boys looked on in disgust when a short little English bloke battled his way through 4 opponents to make his way into the semi finals. Sadly, 4 pints of lager in 15 minutes got the better of me and I failed to progress any further than a trip to the toilet for a backwards replay of the previous rounds.
5) Brooklyn Brewery Pilgrimage.
Many years before Brooklyn Lager gained popularity across England, it appeared as a regular draft at my favourite local bar, Further North in Leeds. Back when it was hard to find, I would insist my parents drop me off for a pint the minute I got off the train home from London. So when the day arrived to visit Brooklyn Brewery, I was like a child at Christmas. Needless to say I most certainly enjoyed opening my ‘presents’. Bizarrely, while I was at the brewery, head brewer Garrett Oliver, sat in Leeds enjoying a pint at North bar.
6) A Beer with a View.
I’m a sucker for views. Perhaps it was Mother’s insistence on always choosing restaurants/booking holidays/moving homes based on views alone that gave me this disposition. From the Standard to Berry Park, I scoured the city for the perfect panoramic pint. Eventually, I found it. When you’re on the roof of the Met, watching the sunset over Manhattan, beer in hand, it’s hard not to feel like you’re livin’ the dream.
7.) Beer Pong
I’m in America. In a student neighbourhood. On a Wednesday. With $7 pitchers. Need I say anymore?
Enjoyed some time State side? Share with me your tales below.
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