We're now onto day two (Saturday) of my stay in New York. I'm so slow. Could be something to do with jetlag. I think I'm awake, but can't be 100% sure.
I was feeling a little fragile on that Saturday. The result of a day-long pub crawl in boozers that don't seem to stock anything under 7% ABV. Now I'm as alcoholically-challenged (probably more so) than the next man. But there are times - daytime pubcrawls are a good example - when you really need to stick to session beers.
In Britain, I'm often frustrated by the lack of anything over 4.2% ABV. It's 10 PM, wet and freezing cold outside. What you really need is a nice strong Stout or Barley Wine to warm your cockles. Sadly, 99 times out of 100, the only beer over 5% will be Stella. In US beer bars the reverse is true. Unless you fancy drinking a wheat beer (which I generally don't), you'll struggle to find anything below 7%. And often half the draughts are 9% plus.
You know what would be quite nice? Somewhere you could find tasty beers at every bloody strength, from 3% up to 12%. Is that such a strange thing to crave?
First pub of the day. I'm trembling with anticipation, having been told by Mike that this is exactly the sort of place to avoid.
Blue Point Whiskey Rye (cask)
Served in a frosted fucking glass. I don't think they're quite got the hang of cask. Hazy amber colour. Thin head. Nice mouthfeel, soft carbonation makes it almost silky. Hoppy, without being excessively bitter. My guess is that there are some C hops in there. Fortunately, not used in such a way as to make it taste like grapefruit juice. One of the best beers I've had so far. I'd happily drink several. Except with such limited time, I feel obliged to try a new beer every round.
Weird. The bloke in the Manchester United shirt just asked the barmaid what "cask" means. More expectedly, he's sat in front of a telly showing Man. United - Spurs. Two games are on. Half the sets are showing Birmingham - Preston. Hadn't expected to be able to watch Prestion in the US.
This place is a bit of a barn. Rather like a modern British circuit boozer. Strangely, given the pub's name, the only draught Stouts are Guinness and Murphy's.
Andrew will be pleased. I've just got his present. A history of the War of 1812, a topic he's curiously fascinated by. One of the few wars to end in a no-score draw.
I asked the barmaid for a sample of Mother's Milk. It turns out they do have another draught Stout. Make that did. They're out, so she brought back a sample of Guinness 250 instead. It's not a beer I would have gone out of my way to try, but as it's here I may as well give it a go.
Black with surprisingly little head. Mmm. How to describe it?A bit more flavour than standard draught Guinness. But that's no great challenge. Vaguely milky aroma. A little bit of generic maltiness, too. No roast to speak of. What's the point of it?A slightly different, but equally toothless, Stout. No fucking clue. Diageo have no fucking clue.
Bugger. Man. United have been gifted a penalty by the ref.
133 W 33rd St (between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue),
Tel (212) 629-6191
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