If I’ve learnt one thing on this trip so far, it’s this…
…jet lag is a bitch.
My plans of hitting the ground running and getting all of the ‘touristy’ stuff done ASAP, allowing me more time to delve into the beery side of NYC, fell flat on their face. That combined with our unpreparedness for just how cold lower Manhattan can be caused our first few days to be quite painful; by night 3, I thought NYC was going to defeat me.
But we pulled through. Our body clocks adjusted, and we bought clothes to see us through the bitterest of days (I even scored a Ralph Lauren coat for $50, reduced from $475!) This put us back on track to see everything we planned on seeing, but left me little time for beer. As such, I’m sad to say, I didn’t visit any of the great craft beer bars that I had planned to. Thankfully NYC provides great beer in locations that I didn’t expect, so I still had plenty of crafty highlights, such as:
– Exploring Harlem, meeting Billy Mitchell (Mr Apollo theatre), enjoying some traditional soul food at Sylvia’s coupled with a bottle of Harlem’s own Sugar Hill Golden Ale (a pretty standard offering, but so perfect for the situation).
– Catching the wrong train to Brooklyn, stumbling upon the unassuming diner ‘Palmer’s’, only to find that they serve great food and local craft beer. Enjoyed a Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace (spicy and funky) and a Kelso IPA (more English IPA than american, but still fresh and tasty) with my first Cuban sandwich.
– Wandering through the Chelsea Markets, finding ‘The Filling Station’, a bar that specialises in growler refills and also fill pint sized jam jars to drink in the public areas of the market, sat down on a ledge to people watch while enjoying a Barrier Bulkhead Red ale (beautifully hoppy and bursting with paw paw…or papaya I guess, since it’s American), and a Troegs Troegenator, which happens to be a beer from the epic list! It’s a big malty doppelbock that’s as flavoursome as any lager that I’ve ever tasted previously. I usually dislike the maltier side of beers, but the aromas and flavours coming out of this were phenomenal; sweet biscuits topped with strawberry jam and molasses – appropriate since I was drinking it out of a jam jar. Australian markets have a lot of catching up to do
– Discovering a Whole Foods Market at the end of our block, finding that the sell great fresh and local food as well as great fresh and local BEER!, going weak at the knees when I saw just how many beers from my epic list were lined up in front of me, purchasing four of them (which showed restraint; there were at least six more there that were imediately recognisable to me), enjoying those in my hotel room while admiring my view of the Empire State Building (see part 2 for those beers)
So that was NYC. I feel like I only scratched the surface of what it had to offer, but I’ve still left with a sense of achievement and some fond memories – and plenty of reasons to return.