Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beer and Baseball Trip Day 2 -Part 2 (6/23/07)

So another Mets victory and we hopped back on the 7 Train, this time headed towards Manhattan. Right before we left I put up a post on the NYC Beer Forum of I asked what the BA crowd thought would be a good place to chill after the game. I was offered several excellent suggestions, but we decided to find a place called The Collins Bar. I was told it would be closing soon, so we figured we should check it out. After walking past it by probably 10 blocks or so, we decided to turnaround and there it was with a large neon sign out front that read, "BAR". Yeah, not sure how the hell we missed that one. Anyhow, after grabbin' a few slices at Original Ray's or whatever one it was, we headed on into the dark and narrow NYC pub. And then...

BEER! GLORIOUS BEER!!! It was a bit difficult to see in that joint, but I managed to read the chalk board listing what was on draught that night. A fine selection indeed. I don't recall everything they had, but by some miracle I do recall what we drank there.

First up was La Gunitas Pilsner. A fine beverage... clean, crisp and a great way to start the beer tasting late night hours(I forgot to mention we arrived sometime shortly after Midnight). I can honestly say this is probably the best American Pilsner I've had. Granted I don't have a long list of ones I've tried, but La Gunitas brews some fine beers, and this is a great one for a Summer's night. If you are a fan of the light and easy drinkin' lagers, check this one out.

Next up was the Victory Whirlwind Wit Beer. Another refreshing Belgian style wheat beverage. Just enough hops added to lift a sweet floral aroma from the pint glass, with an accompanying bit of spice that pleased the taste buds. Great second choice of the evening.

I forgot to mention that Dave had the goal of catching the Ultimate Fighter 5 replay on Spike TV. We tried to go to one place that advertised having the fight, but that place was playing some crappy dance music and some big moron out front was behind a velvet rope checking IDs. Uhhhh... no Peg. No way we were going there. So we asked the bartender if we could change the channel on the TV near us, and the guy said, "no problem." Outstanding! So now we have UFC on, a great beer selection, and damned if they didn't play all the bands I love on the stereo!

No shit. Some highlights were The Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Op Ivy, The Ramones, and I think maybe some Minor Threat, but I'm not exactly sure. Either way, amazing selections all around.

Okay, back to the beer.

Dave decided on the Magic Hat #9 As it was listed as an "Apricot Ale" I didn't think I'd dig it all that much. Wrong! It was damn tasty. A nice pale ale type beer with a nice floral hop aroma mixed with a large nose of Apricot. The fruit flavor addition to the beer was pretty well balanced. It was not overwhelmingly sweet, but rather lent a nice touch to what was already a good pale ale on its own. Not my first choice at any bar, but it was worth a taste.

And then it became Weiss beer night at The Collins Bar. Dave, Matt and I are all huge fans of the weizen beers. So once we saw our buddy Doug(he just moved up to NYC from Florida... it was great to see ya Doug!) ordering a Brooklyn Weiss, Dave and I had to follow suit. There really is nothing like a Weiss beer served in that tall narrow glass, and if you like garnished with a lemon or orange wedge. Yes I know the beer snobs would say we're ruining it, but I say if you think it tastes good with it, then do it. If you like it without, then don't use any wedge. Whatever. Who the fuck really cares about such nonsense?

Anyway, I go back and forth on the fruit wedge, but for the first round I dug on that little bit of added lemon. Brooklyn Brewery makes a finely crafted weiss beer with those classic spice notes of corriander and citrus mixed into a beautifully cloudy concoction of wheat malt and yeast. Ahhhhhhhhhh! I could literally drink weiss beers every damn day.

So down goes one Brooklyn Weiss, then another, then... well I figured I should try some of the bottled selections they had while I still had a few bucks left.

We stuck with the wheat beers and asked for a bottle of Schneider's Edel-Weiss. Now if you've never had a beer brewed by Schneider's I demand that you go to your closest beer store and buy one! They make outstanding wheat beers that will freak your tastebuds out! It's brewed with organic ingredients that produce a nice golden hazy body, and a rich bit of spice and citrus flavor. It has a bit of banana vibe as well. The bartender gets an A+ on his perfect pour, making sure to roll the bottle and get that last bit of yeasty goodness from the bottom.

Then something amazing occurred. I noticed the bartender taking two dollars to the end of the bar and he said, "$2 on Ratt". Now what the hell did that mean? I then saw Barry who was also with us, giving the bartender his $2 for a bet. Turns out a few dudes at the other end of the bar was focused on watching VH1 Classic's Metal Mania. Several hours of hair band videos from the 80's, and they were betting $2 a band on what the next video would be. Didn't I tell you this place was fucking awesome?!! Of course I had to get in on it and put $2 down on Skid Row. I wanted Iron Maiden, but the gal she was already taken. I turned in my cash and headed for another brew...

The next and final beer of the evening was also from Schneider's. It was called Aventinus It was another wheat beer, but a dark wheat beer! This was something I had never seen before. A wheat dopplebock with a nice warming dark nut brown color and a light and fluffy head that was just begging for me to dive into. This beer had hints of clove, cinnamon, corriander and again citrus... mostly orange. But there was also a much richer flavor underneath all the previous notes... something more like you would taste from a porter. Not as pronounced as the chocolate flavors of a good porter, but there was a little something hiding in there that made this a very unique beer. If you enjoy the weizen, then you must check out Aventinus because it is like nothing I've ever had before.

That was our last beer of the night, B.J. Penn won the fight and all was well with us in New York City. We left around 3AM or so and thanked our kind bartenders for all their help and friendly conversation.

If you are in the NYC area before July 22, get to The Collins Bar at 738 8th Ave. in Manhattan. You will not regret it.


P.S. Some bastard won $40 in the hair band pool... the winner? Guns n' fuckin' Roses. Bummer.

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