Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Book tour day four - Brooklyn (part two)

It's a busy day, Monday, as I told you. I wasn't kidding. Still lots more happening.

Radio interview done, we've still a fair bit of time before showtime. Best not spend it all just boozing. I want my best legs on for later. A couple of the Brouwerij Lane guys invite us down to their new brewpub, which is just arounnd the corner. Why not? I never tire of looking at shiny things.

The brewery is called Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co., though the pub it's in is called Dirck the Norseman. It's easy enough to spot, being painted Ikea blue and yellow. The brewery hasn't officially opened. That's in a few days. Luckily there's beer to try, a tasty Pale Ale. Now there's a tick - an unreleased beer. But only for a day or two.

Back at Brouwerij Lane, no-one is quite sure what time is showtime. There aren't many punters about. We decide that there's time for a quick meal. Dann, Martha and me. We venture out in search of Mexican. But stumble upon a Polish restaurant. That'll do.

It's called Karczma and has a well in the middle of the dining room. And the waitresses are wearing folk costumes. I always like that.

They've a reasonable selection of Czech and polish beers, bottled and draught. Dann gets a draught pale Lager, I go for a dark one. Dann sniffs suspiciously at his beer, then tentatively tastes it.

"Dirty lines" is his conclusion. He looks at my beer. "I ordered the pale because that's more likely to be fresh. You've no idea how long a dark one might have been sitting around."

Thanks for raising my expectations, Dann.

This is my third meal if the day. Don't want to pig out, so I just order pirogis. Boiled, not fried. Martha has a plate-sized piece of pork.

I don't manage to finish my beer. Something that rarely happens.

It's much busier back at Brouwerij Lane.

"When do you want to start your talk?" One of the guys asks.


"Yes, the 30-minute talk you're giving."

It's the first I've heard of it.

"Dann, am I supposed to be giving a talk?"

"Did I not mention that? Just talk about historic beer a bit. It doesn't need to be too structured."

I frantically try to plan out a small talk, while chatting to various people. It's hard to concentrate on either. No point in waiting too long - I'll only fret more. Best just dive straight in.

Dann introduces me. The stove burns at my back. I clear my throat.

Suddenly, it's an hour and a quarter later. I've been talking that long, occasionally punctuated by questions. Not sure what I just said or how much sense it made. But they're clapping so it can't have been totally shit. And no-one buggered off half way through.

There's some book-signing and chatting to be done. As well as some beer-drinking. I'm relief drinking. There's even cask Mild. I can't pass that up. And more 1955 Double Brown on tap. Can't pass that up either. No reason I can't drink both. Though obviously not mixed. That would be weird.

We finish in  Tørst, Evil Twin's bar. It's a bit relentlessly cool, both décor and atmosphere-wise.

We don't linger too late. Poor Dann and Martha have a ridiculously early start to dodge the New York traffic. Four in the morning they plan on leaving. My train to Philadelphia is a little after noon. I can have a nice lie in. And Tuesday is my rest day. Can't wait.

The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer

Brouwerij Lane
78 Greenpoint Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11222.
Tel:+1 347-529-6133

Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.
Dirck the Norseman
7 N 15th St
Brooklyn, NY 11222.
Tel: +1 718-389-2940

136 Greenpoint Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11222.
Tel: +1 718-349-1744

615 Manhattan Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11222.
Tel: +1 718-389-6034

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