Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Blind Tiger (full version)

You'll have to excuse me if I don't complete this post today. I'm not sure I can face typing it all out.

Did I mention that what I post is often taken verbatim from my notes? I call them notes. Others might consider them a short novel. Especially when I'm on my own. Then I only lay down my pen to pick up my glass.

So here we go with possibly part one of Saturday in the Blind Tiger . . . . . .

I can see why this place comes highly recommended. Peering through the crowds, I think I spot an excellent beer selection. Not as big as in some other bars, but good quality stuff. From my miniscule knowledge of American beer.

I've started off with a Southampton Burton Ale. Handpulled. Judging by the head, they've got a sparkler on. A pretty nice slurping Bitterwith low carbonation, a bit of sweet malt and a gentle bitterness in the finish. [Due to me misunderstanding the chalkboard (it was too far away, really) I at first thought it was 6% ABV. Not $6 a mug. Ratebeer tells me it's 4.2% and a Bitter. I'm so pleased that I could recognise a Bitter.]

I could be mean and clain that Burton Ale should really be dark. But I'm no style nazi. I'm no kind of nazi. It's really rather good. A nice temperature, too.

The only downside is that it's a bit full. I hate crowds. Poor old misanthrope me. And ever since breaking both my ankles, I prefer to sit if I'm staying for more than one. I always stay for more than one. Only the good fortune of arriving at exactly the right time got me a seat.

Six dollars a "mug". What size is a mug exactly? Is it a common measure? Me stupid foreigner. Look, European beer is my thing. I have to draw a line somewhere, or I'll go completely crazy. My ignorance of local drinking customs is almost total. Gives proceedings an air of mystery.

I couldn't leave the other handpump, dispensing Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout, untroubled. Well it's nice and black. Not a great deal of head on this one. No sparkler, I guess. What head there is has a dark tan colour. Looks good. The aroma is roast, almost to the point of dead match-heads. It stops just far enough short of nastiness. In the gob, it's like treacle fudge. The underlying sweetness is balanced by a good dose of hops and some roast bittereness. Tastes like there's some c-hops in there, but not enough to annoy me. Damn, damn good. If I were in scoring mood, I'd give it 80+. Great to get a beer this strong cask-conditioned and in good condition.

Two beers. That can't possibly be all I drank in the Blind Tiger. And it isn't. Me, arse and a negative. I warned you at the start about possible motivation issues.

More tomorrow. Unless I get sidetracked again. Who is the kind, bald stranger? What does he offer me? And I drink another Stout. What is it and does it make me scream like a madman? Find out tomorrow. . . . . or the day after. Sometime fairly soon.

Blind Tiger Ale House
281 Bleecker St.,
New York,
New York 10014.
212 - 462-4682

Southampton Publick House,
40 Bowden Square,
New York 11968
Tel: 631 - 283 2800

Otter Creek Brewing
793 Exchange St.,
Vermont 05753.
800 - 473 0727


Anonymous said...

Ron, in American bars there are no standard measures.

A bar can serve beer in whatever size glass it wants. They don't have the laws that demand an explicit statement of exactly how much beer you'll get in a glass - which is why a bar never has a 5cl line or 568ml crown on the glass. Consequently, it's very rare to go to a bar and see 'pints' or 'half litres' on the beer list. It will always be a non-descript 'mug' or 'draft'. (Of course bottles are the exception).

So you're not being a stupid foreigner. The bar is being vague.

Ron Pattinson said...

Doesn't it get really annoying that you never know what size beer you'll be given?

Anonymous said...

I think the Tiger's chalkboard lists what size of pour you'll get. Stronger beers will usually be 8oz only, most of the rest will be US (16oz) pints. If you'd got to Mugs in Brooklyn, they serve their pints in UK 20oz glasses.

I love the Tiger - best bar in NYC, even if it is always crowded. Did you ever go to the original on Hudson St?

Ron Pattinson said...

Sid, when I could get closer to the blackboard the next day, I noticed that some beers were marked as being 12 oz or 8 oz measures. I hadn't got to that bit of my New York experience yet.

I'm just recounting my experiences as they happened.