New York City Craft Beer, BBQ and Sports Bar Scene – From a Letter to a Friend

The Sherpas were asked to provide suggestions to a friend who was recently visiting NYC.  He and his wife were interested in fun things to do in NYC for a beer aficionado.  Below is a copy of our letter and his response, including a recommendation of his own!


Dear Vasily,

Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you on this.  At any rate, here are our suggestions for beer in NYC.  We’ve listed out every bar we can think of and their website for you to check out.   The list isn’t complete, and we’ve probably left something out, but it’ll give you a good idea.  We’ve ranked them below the list, but understand that this list makes no consideration for travel time/cost.  Getting around in NYC can be a real pain in the $%# and/or expensive.  Subways and/or buses are the most economical and, at times, can be the fastest, so check out the public transportation options before driving/parking or taking a taxi.

Think about BBQ, concerts, live sports events and sports bars too, as an added and worthwhile adventure!



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Beer & Food Course –

Just a quick note to our readers….

This course can be downloaded for free.

The Brewers Association (, publishers of (, have designed an online five-day course which includes:

  • four days of lecture and reading that can work around existing accredited lab time in a kitchen;
  • two tasting sessions to understand styles and pairing;
  • Lab time to practice pairing craft beer and cuisine, with suggestions for successful pairings and recipes;
  • A draft of the final written exam, to be administered alongside a practical exam that consists of both cooking to a paired beer and pairing a beer to a prepared dish.

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Enter The Scoville Unit (36 Chambers)

I’m not much of a chilihead. Sure, I like some jalepeños on my nachos, or a little Cholula in my ramen noodles, but hot wing challenges seem ridiculous and even torturous to me. So why am I sitting at a table with 4 chili beers, including what is generally regarded as the hottest beer on the planet? Because for me, above ALL else, the experience is what I value and Scott has assured me that his hobby of growing and eating hot peppers is both enjoyable and enlightening and can only be enhanced with the addition of beer. Well, if beer will enhance this experience, then chili beers should turn this into a straight up Wu Tang Gravel Pit party!

The scene sets with a plate of hot peppers (orange habanero and red habanero), sliced into thin rings, Twisted Pine Brewing‘s Ghost Face Killah, Clown Shoes’ Chocolate Sombrero, Evil Twin & Prairie Artisan AlesBible Belt, Prairie Artisan Ales‘ Bomb! and a handy Scoville Units color chart scovilleUnitsproviding the back-story. Tasters in attendance where The BrewSherpette and The BrewSherpette, Scott and Melanie, and Amanda and Nick.  After some amount of discussion, it was decided that we would first drink the beers, starting with the ale and progressing to the stouts (an ill-advised decision to be sure) and finish with eating the orange then red habanero rings. Suffice to say, my heart was racing with the fear of anticipation and my mouth was watering for some primal reason I am very confused about.

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#Couchtrippin NYC

September 28, 2014 was a night to remember – although with all of the Lagunitas cerveza fria flowing freely, there was a basis in which remembering could be compromised ;).  The Lagunitas “Couchtrippin’ to New Orleans…2014 Tour ( was on its way around the U.S..  What could be more enticing than one of our favorite breweries visiting our favorite city (yes….we are NYC homers), offering free beer, free music, and circus?!


(credit photo above to Lagunitas Brewing Co.)

The line outside Le Poisson Rouge ( on Bleeker Street wrapped around the corner down Thompson Street.  Lagunitas, in true “Beer Circus” style ( entertained us even before the event started. Read the rest of this entry

Kane You Brew It?

Ocean, New Jersey, we like it there.  Summer memories of the Jersey Shore, fishing, music, friends, and….suds.

Kane Beach (credit photo to Kane Brewing Company) Read the rest of this entry

Happy 2nd Birthday – Widow Jane Distillery

Bourbon?  Yes please?  Now that’s a flip flop for me, having been weaned on Piels Light and Miller Light.  Over the past five years, however, with the explosion of the craft beer movement, coupled with fusions associated with beer and barrel-aging, the taste of bourbon has become more familiar.  So if I can enjoy bourbon barrel-aged beer, why not try bourbon?

stillbottle3largetranscopy Read the rest of this entry

Return to the Scene of the Crime


For those of you familiar with This American Life (the weekly podcast), Ira Glass said: “I was talking to some homicide detectives in Chicago. And they told me that, contrary to what you might have heard, most criminals do not actually return to the scene of the crime. Arsonists do. They like to watch the flames. Serial killers sometimes do, but they’re crazy. Other kinds of criminals aren’t really known for going back to the place where the crimes happened. Like thieves, for example. If you want to see thieves returning to the scene of the crime, you pretty much have to go to Florida. Beautiful, sunny, Florida.” Read the rest of this entry

Straight to Ale invades the Florida panhandle

As many of you know, before relocating to the Redneck Riviera known as Panama City, Brewticular was a resident of the state of Alabama (Roll Tide!).  At that time the beer scene in Alabama was abysmal.  The best beer you could find was probably filtered into pure H2O before it was shipped.  Thanks to organizations like Free The Hops, Alabama is no longer in beer exile. Read the rest of this entry

Hop Scotch

“The last time I turned down a beer, I didn’t understand the question.” (modification of a quote by a friend of John Hansell).

I’ve only met a few beers that I didn’t like.  I seem to prefer stouts and barley wines recently, but Belgian beers rarely disappoint and I would never shy away from a Scottish or Scotch Ale.  I even really dig the Black IPA. DIPAs, for the most part, don’t really float my boat, save The Alchemist’s Heady Topper and Lawson’s Finest Double Sunshine.  Pliny the Elder is also a fantastic beer, especially on tap at the source, but in my humble opinion, not up to the taste of Heady Topper and Double Sunshine.  I’ve tried countless other DIPAs and struggle to understand their appeal.  Obviously, there are those, including the Brew Sirdar that absolutely LOVE the DIPA and need very little provocation to expound on the virtues of this monstrosity of a beer.  For me, the double IPA is one of my least favorite beer styles, although that doesn’t seem very true when TheBrewSherpette and I drive 6+ hours to Vermont, about every 6 weeks, to replenish our stash of both of these Vermont beers.

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Preparation W

Haha, not what you think!  The “w” was beautiful…dark, aromatic, sweet…

It took a few days to get ready for the first brew day on the Sabco BrewMagic 350.  The system had been relocated, and this was the test day.  Worst case, the price of the grain and the cleaning/sanitizing agents would be the cost of this lesson, and best case, five gallons of Milk Stout could be in the pot at the end of the fermentation rainbow.  TheBrewSherpa has many years of homebrewing experience, both in all-grain and extract, but this system offered a fantastic opportunity to expand his brewing expertise and get me up and running in a hurry.


With temperatures soaring, near 100F with heavy humidity, this might be a challenge, but nothing would stop us today.  We had cleaned and sanitized the barrels, lines, false bottoms, hoses and the chillmaster, pretty sure we had all the supplies we needed.

Light ‘em up, and we were heating up the hot water/sparge vessel in anticipation of moving hot water into the mash tun.  With the bottom of the mash tun filled with hot water to about 1″ above the false bottom, we added the grains and continued to bottom fill until the grain was submersed.  All went well as we circulated the water through the mash for an hour, prior to moving the wort to the boil vessel.  Adding water to the hot water/sparge tank, we rinsed with grain until the desired amount of wort was ready to boil.  TheBrewSirdar was displeased with the lack of hops addition to the boil, however, our east coast Milk Stout was destined to be low on the IBU scale.  Lactose was added at this point and the boil proceeded without hitch for a hour.


Milk Stout Recipe (available upon request)

The biggest challenge was found to be in the transfer of liquid from the boil tank to the fermenter.  We were able to reduce the temperature of the wort from its 210F to below 80F, but not without seating the water hose into an ice chest while running the final wort through the Chillmaster, and thereafter seating the fermenter in ice to achieve our desired pitching termperature of 68F.

So now we wait to see how well we did, waiting for fermentation to begin and looking forward to kegging this brew.  Any thoughts on the value of secondary fermentation?  It seems as if there is an active debate regarding fermentation and racking….

Oh, the spent grains are in the process of becoming dog treats for Lester and Odimus!  Please check out our page on the dog treats for the guaranteed doggie-approved recipe.


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