Tag Archives: beer

Brooklyn Bavarian Biergarten

My wife and I stopped in here for a quick bite and a drink before seeing a show nearby.

The space is pretty nice, with outdoor seating and bars, and a good selection of German brews. I tried a Grevenstein, which was an unfiltered style lager, and my wife tried a cider. Pints are $7 each, and liter steins are $12.

The food was pretty great. This wurst-sampler platter was $24: four sausages, fries and pretzel bread on a bed of kraut with and a trio of mustards.

This giant soft pretzel was $8.

Cool spot.

BROOKLYN BAVARIAN BIERGARTEN
265 Prospect Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Crave Fishbar

My wife and I stopped into Crave Fishbar for their daily oyster happy hour. From 5pm to 7pm (4pm-6pm on weekends) all oyster varieties are just a buck each. We each tried one of each kind (along with some other snacks and drinks):

As strange as it was, our favorites all contained the word “point” in the name.

The calamari was really nice too. A perfectly dusted and fried batter, and really tender squid inside.

But what really blew me away at this place was their red crab cavatelli. The cavatelli is home made, and is torched/crisped up so that some of the edges are actually crunchy and al dente. Here are the before and after mix shots (beautiful colors):

I highly recommend that dish. It’s pricey, but worth it. If the pasta is all you’re after, they also have another cavatelli pasta dish, without the crab.

Overall, this place is great. We will definitely be back.

CRAVE FISHBAR
428 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Pilsener Haus & Biergarten

This is officially one of my new favorite places. Pilsener Haus & Biergarten is a German beer hall situated in an old factory in North Hoboken, New Jersey.

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The interior is expansive and roomy, with really awesome decor.

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They serve up some classic Oktoberfest style foods and other German classics – especially tubed meats!

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I managed to snap a photo of these delicious mussels during a party that my wife and I attended for a short time.

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I know North Hoboken isn’t the most convenient place to go, but this place is well worth the trip. I’m looking forward to another visit with a crew of buddies who also love German beer halls as much as me.

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PILSENER HAUS & BIERGARTEN
1422 Grand St
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Zum Schneider

One of the most fun bar scenes you will ever experience in Manhattan is Zum Schneider for Oktoberfest. Yeah, yeah, yeah (or, should I say, Ja Ja Ja) I know it gets mobbed in there, and you have to stand on line to get in, but it is SO worth it. The beers are excellent, the food is tasty, and the company is fantastic, always.

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This year they are offering the festivities under a huge tent on the Hudson River (at 23rd Street), so we will see how that pans out.

If panned out wonderfully, from the little that I can remember. Check out some pics – it was even a good time in the rain:

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A short video of the Ja Ja Ja’s into tune:

Another year in the bag, as a return to the big tent on a very similar weather day brought even more fun:

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This time I sampled a lot more of the food, like this nice meat and cheese plate. The blue cheese was good and funky, and the meats were nicely cured (there was even some head cheese).

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I saw these fuckers roasting outside, so I had to try one:

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It was a simple preparation. Just some seasonings plus char. I liked it.

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My buddy had some roast chicken and a potato dumpling in gravy.

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And of course we tried some brats and pretzels. The brats were on stale shitty bread but they were at least grilled nicely.

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MONTAUK LOCATION UPDATE – JULY 2016

The Montauk location is every bit as awesome as the NYC location, only it is steps from the beach.

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We really just came in for a drink before dinner across the street at Harvest, but I couldn’t resist this hax’n pork shank:

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So I ordered it as an appetizer of sorts. It was excellent. While not salted enough by itself, when eaten in conjunction with the pickled red and white cabbage, it was perfectly balanced. The cabbage cut the fat nicely too.

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The potato dumpling and stuffing balls that came with it were skippable, but the beer braise liquid was amazing. Perhaps just a few slices of nice sourdough bread would have been better.

ZUM SCHNEIDER’S
107 Ave. C
New York, NY 10009

ZUM SCHNEIDER’S MONTAUK
4 S Elmwood Ave
Montauk, NY 11954

Gebhard’s Beer Culture

Gebhard’s is a beer connoisseur’s dream bar. Their bottle menu is five or six pages long, printed in tiny 8-point font (perhaps even smaller), and organized by style. Their tap selection is pretty stellar as well. When I was there, I tried a flight of four different brews from Brooklyn. A pilsner, a saison, a sour fruit beer and a stout (pictured below from front to back, or right to left).

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All were pretty great, but the stars of this joint, for me, were these White Castle style sliders.

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They’re made with Schweid & Sons ground beef, topped with cheese, steamed minced onions, and a dijon-based sauce that will knock your socks off. These little things were awesome, so it’s no surprise that renowned and respected burger expert Rev Ciancio (formerly of Burger Conquest) is promoting these things. It’s safe to say that these are my favorite sliders.

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I highly recommend getting up there to try them out for yourselves. The tots were perfectly crisp as well, and, if sliders aren’t your thing, then you can go with the full sized burger.

GEBHARD’S BEER CULTURE
228 W 72nd St
New York, NY 10023

Coney Island Brewery

My wife and I came in here for a pair of beer flights to cool down and buzz up during our trip to Coney Island one hot Saturday afternoon.

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There were eight drafts to choose from, and each flight contained four, so we were able to sample everything on tap.

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Our favorites were the Kettle Corn Cream Ale and the Brunch Beer, with the Black Nitro Lager close behind.

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It’s always nice to see a good quality brewery here in the NYC area. And with reasonable prices and gracious pours like these, I’m sure to be back again soon. Flights are $8, tours are free, and tasting tours are just $5. There’s a lot of fun merch too.

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CONEY ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
1904 Surf Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11224

Harpoon Brewery

Not too much to say here, as this isn’t really an eatery other than the various flavored pretzels that are available. You come here for beer!

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My wife and I tried seven different brews. Camp Wannamango (lightly mango flavored, refreshing, but with a strong hop on the nose but not on the tongue); UFO White (herby, full flavored unfiltered); UFO Hefeweizen (light, easy to drink, unfiltered); UFO Raz (similar to Hefeweizen but with a raspberry flavor on top); UFO Big Squeeze (bitter citrus like grapefruit, not hoppy, full flavor, unfiltered);

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Hibiscus Cider (Sweet hibiscus and apple with a slightly sour finish); and the Harpoon Trippel (great farmhouse style, strong at 9% but not so bubbly).

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Definitely enjoyed this place, and it was way better than the Brooklyn Brewery. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get on a tour since we had to get ready for a wedding.

HARPOON BREWERY
306 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02210

Rockaway Brewery, Meat Hook & Stagg Jam & Marmalade

I recently went to a release event for Rockaway Brewery’s newest beer, “Meat in the Middle,” with the man behind The Dishelin Guide.

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“Meat in the Middle” (4.8% abv) is a rauchbier that’s brewed with slow-smoked NY State barley. What makes it special and “meaty” is that it’s smoked with cherry wood at Brooklyn specialty butcher and sandwich shop, The Meat Hook.

The beer itself is pretty good. You get a hint of that smoke in there, with a malt-forward beer flavor. Very nice. I tried it in a flight of some other goodies. In this photo, it’s all the way on the left:

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The porters and dark beers here are really fantastic:

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After working up a little buzz, we hopped on one of the brewery tours and picked up some additional info about the brew process:

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By then we were hungry, so we ventured upstairs to try some of the sausages that The Meat Hook was selling.

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We tried both the Long Dong Bud and the Beet & Onion sausages.

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Check out the color on the Beet & Onion. Incredible! It was really nice, and topped with a kale kimchi type of slaw that really made the flavors pop.

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Long Dong Bud was topped with some shredded cheese, and a pineapple relish. It definitely had more of a traditional German type flavor profile, other than the relish.

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We were torn on which we liked best. I went one way (Long Dong Bud), and Jay went the other (Beet & Onion). In any event, if you can get over to The Meat Hook and try these, I highly recommend them.

Ben Turley, a butcher from The Meat Hook, gave us a demo of how he breaks down a “rear quarter” of a cow – a beef shank (a back leg).

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As he explained what he was doing, he trimmed off various specialty cuts within, like the oyster steak and merlot steak.

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Here’s a shot of the oyster steak:

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And some various other items like portions of the top round and eye of round.

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He parted out the femur bone, too.

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The coolest thing about this was that they were just slicing up parts of the lean beef sections and passing it around to eat raw, with just a little bit of salt on top. Awesome!

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One of the thicker cuts benefited from just a quick, hot sear:

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So this day was basically a dream come true. Good beer, Good food and a dead cow. And Ben basically has my dream job.

On my way out, I picked up a jar of this really crazy banana jam too, from Stagg Jam & Marmalade.

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They had a table set up where you could try all four of their jams on crackers. This bacon jam has a hint of citrus and vanilla that really explodes with flavor.

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ROCKAWAY BREWERY
46-01 5th St.
Long Island City, NY 11101

THE MEAT HOOK
100 Frost St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Maui Brewing Company

At Maui Brewing Company I got to sample six interesting beers:

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Hot Blonde, Pau Hana Pilsner, 808 Crystal Wheat, Imperial Coconut Porter, Vienna Waits For You, and Barefood Brew. The best was the Hot Blonde; a light amber colored beer with a spicy habanero kick at the finish. Awesome.

At Kamaole Beach III I relaxed with a nice pair of cans (and one from another local brewery). All awesome. But Mana Wheat and Coconut Porter are officially two of my favorite beers now.

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Jeremy’s Ale House

What can I say about Jeremy’s Ale House? This bar was a regular stop during my old law school days, because my counselors-in-training and I could score 32oz beers in styrofoam cups for very cheap, on a pauper’s budget, all while having a blast near the picturesque South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge locale of lower Manhattan.

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My wife and I were married on a yacht that used to sail from the Seaport too, and with a pair of my groomsmen having gone through law school hell with me, this was naturally where the wedding party landed after disembarking. In short, this place is associated with the most incredibly important parts of my life. As such, being invited here for a press dinner was really exciting for me and my wife, and we jumped at the opportunity.

This place is nothing short of iconic. It used to be located a bit closer to the bridge, but it has since moved. It hasn’t lost any of its charm and character, however, other than the awesome outdoor beer garden that it used to boast. The new spot has some elevated curbside seating near big windowed doors, which is cool in its own right.

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It still has the incredible collection of cut ties and bras hanging on the walls, ceiling, and over the bar, fabled to be swindled from alcohol-lubricated businessmen and women who wandered into the bar after a hard day of work on Wall Street or the Financial District in dire need of shedding their stuffy monkey suits with a carefree romp at the famed dive.

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Even my wife contributed an over-the-shoulder boulder holder to the collection:

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The walls are filled with everything from jocular anecdotes and silly images, to reflective and somber NYPD, FDNY and EMS tributes to fallen heroes of 9/11.

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Jeremy’s served as a safe house after 9/11 for people who were destined to still be in the area working cleanup. Jeremy kept the place open, and in that spirit of giving back to his community, he’s also throwing a fund raiser to help fight breast cancer at his other location, out in Freeport, Long Island.

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Jeremy himself is a really outgoing and inviting person. His warm and honest persona fills the room with a sense of familiarity and comfort.

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Much of his staff has been with him for several decades, like Milton, aka “Monstro,” who has worked behind the bar and ran the kitchen and staff for coming up on 30 years (Jeremy, seated: Monstro, right).

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Jeremy has been in the saloon game for nearly 45 years now, first opening his doors back in 1970! He reminisced to us about how the first bras graced the walls of the older locations via auction, with the money going to charity if the women felt awkward about taking the cash that was offered… but sometimes the pot would go up to nearly $200, and the girls would take it because in the 80s that was a lot of scratch for a bra! About a week’s worth of pay, for many. We also talked about how the neighborhood changed so much between then and now, and how NYC laws governing food establishments caused him to make changes or operate differently, depending on the mayor and what safety concerns they pushed in their agendas.

I was only acquainted with Jeremy’s from 2000 onward, just a third of the time it was open. And throughout those 15 years I really had no idea what was happening in the kitchen in terms of food. I never even gave food a second thought here, because, well, there were quart-sized beers!

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As it turns out, Jeremy’s serves up some pretty great pub food, and Jeremy himself is somewhat of a recipe innovator and amateur chef.

We first tried some of his lobster bisque, which currently is not on the menu. He does give it out to customers on occasion, but right now it is an off-menu hush-hush item.

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Jeremy spent years perfecting New England clam chowder recipes at home, spoiling his family in the process, who can now no longer eat the chowder at restaurants because the homemade version was so much better. The secret, Jeremy says, is in using heavy cream and half & half instead of milk, and a bit of sherry. You can see that a little shot of sherry is served alongside the chowder for mixing (or drinking, like I did).

The bisque here is made from a commercial lobster base and then enriched with some of Jeremy’s chowder methods. He adds pepper, creams and sherry (no starch for thickening), and then tops it with a generous portion of “lobster essence” (bits of lobster that are ground up and re-combined) and imitation lobster meat for substance. I have to say, it was pretty good for pub food!

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Next up was a side-by-side comparison of the dry batter seafood and the grilled seafood: Scallops, shrimp and calamari.

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Jeremy is partial to the dry batter preparation, because it seals in the natural juices and flavors of the seafood. The grill, on the other hand, gives it a fired-up taste and the seafood takes on some of the grill flavors. I’m more of a fan of that method.

Speaking of fresh seafood, if you order the shrimp cocktail here, you’re given a choice of whether you want it hot with drawn butter on the side, or chilled with cocktail sauce. The reason you’re given this choice: everything is prepared fresh, to order. When you want it chilled, the shrimp gets flash-cooked and then instantly chilled in an ice bath before it comes out to you. Pretty awesome, because the shrimp stay tasty and juicy. All too often I get shrimp cocktail that tastes like absolutely nothing, because it was cooked a month ago, frozen, and then thawed out prior to serving. The result is a rubbery, bland and flavorless piece of dog shit. Fuck that. Jeremy’s Ale House does it legit. And it is also worth noting that Jeremy makes his own tartar sauce for the pub. He uses extra relish and a bit of ketchup in the preparation to cut the sour with a bit of sweet. Very nice.

The food tasting continued with the special half pound burger that comes topped with bacon, American cheese and tomato on a pretzel bun.

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The pretzel bun is fresh and supple. Really excellent. The bacon was thick and crisp, perfectly cooked. The cheese was melty and gooey. The only downside? My burger was a bit overcooked. But I have to say, for a dive bar, this burger is pretty freaking awesome – especially for just $10 (they offer smaller burgers for about $5 or $6 as well). Also, look at the mountain of fresh homemade potato chips that comes with the burger:

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While I was digging into this fucker, Jeremy called out for Monstro to bring us over one of the Jersey tomatoes that he uses both at home and at the bar for salads, burger toppings and also just for snacking. These were picked fresh from near his hometown in southern New Jersey (he grew up in NJ, but he is originally from England). They have a slightly thicker skin than most tomatoes, but that helps to seal in the juicy freshness and sweet qualities of the fruit (yes, tomatoes are technically fruit, not veggies). These particular tomatoes were light on seeds and that slimy goop in the center, which was great for me because I hate that garbage. Jeremy even sent us home with a bunch of fresh tomatoes.

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The next item to come out was the fried chicken finger sandwich. This is about six ounces of fried chicken on a pretzel bun with pickles and fried onions. Excellent!

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What a great bar sandwich this is: The chicken was tender, the breading was crisp, the pickles were of good quality and the onions were a great topper.

While we were on the subject of chicken, Jeremy explained to us how he has (and is currently working on) some options for people who are trying to be more health conscious. He had Monstro bring out a cooked patty of his chicken burger, which is made of one third leg and thigh meat, and two thirds breast meat. But it doesn’t break up or taste like ground chicken. It eats like a pounded-flat piece of thigh or breast meat. It is incredible. Here it is: six ounces of amazing chicken, grilled to perfection:

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This patty was by far my favorite item of the night. And we just had it plain! Usually, this gets served on a bun with toppings and a side of chips, like the other sandwiches – we were just trying out the patty on its own for shits and giggles. Actually, I was slicing up some of the Jersey tomatoes and eating them together, with a little bit of Jeremy’s incredibly spicy homemade hot sauce on top:

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That hot sauce is so fucking good. But be careful, because it will make your face numb! Simple too: smoked habanero, vinegar, garlic and salt. Generous as he is, Jeremy sent my wife and me home with a few containers of the sauce, after I suggested that he bottle it and sell it.

We were getting stuffed, but Jeremy wanted us to keep trying things. He and Monstro were discussing what else we could sample when my wife asked, “What is your favorite thing to eat?” They both answered, “The hero.”

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What you have there are two different subs. One is spicy, with sliced cherry peppers included. Both have salami, ham, cheese, lettuce and a nice vinegary sandwich dressing on top. The bread is fresh, crusty Italian bread – the only thing worthy of such a sandwich. Monstro hollows out a bit of the bread’s interior so that all the fillings can fit inside the sandwich without being too massive to bite down on. I’d say this was probably my second favorite item from the tasting.

What an awesome place. I’m really glad Jeremy reached out to me for this press meal, because up until now, I just looked at this place as a joint for big, cheap beers. A watering hole, a dive bar. Now I know its a great place to eat, too!

JEREMY’S ALE HOUSE
228 Front St.
New York, NY 10038