In the afternoon heat of a fall day in New York, I found myself at the Life Cafe in Chelsea, where stylish people hang out with trees as shade and Sixpoint’s Brownstone ale was on tap. It was, go figure, a brown ale–once again demonstrating how clever people get with naming their browns.
Nonetheless, this brown was a bit unremarkable, both a good and bad sign for a brown I suppose, but then it was time to leave, for my guide, the lovely betweenthelines, who was to be my guide to the berg of Meridian, CT.
The train ride up I sat facing North, on the right side of the train, and I was struck not only by how pretty it was, but by how many graveyards, both human and architectural, there were. Parts of this country have been smacked pretty hard by economic hard times at various points in our history, and the remains still linger. Unlike the human graveyards, though, these places are burnt out, ugly; their shattered windows and smeared brick faces making them creepy and appealing to my desire to explore them, somehow.
But the train rolled on. We soon found ourselves at Archie Moore’s, where I asked a younger, guido looking bartender what was on tap. He pointed at the taps (which were arranged such that they were difficult to read) and then gestured a-la Vanna White at the bottle selection above his head. btl commented as he walked away, “Neighbor’s kid…he was an asshole as a child, too.”
I selected Magic Hat #9, as I’d never had it before, but this time requesting it from an older bartender, his mouth lined at the corners like a tic-tac-toe grid. He merely nodded; old school, and got me my beer. A tasty pils, though not what I was hoping for. I don’t know, if you’re going to name a beer after a number, maybe it should be more exotic. Then again, perhaps if one drinks too much, being able to just say, “Number 9,” is all you want to have to do.
Next up was dinner, where I was introduced to the anarchist DJ Manwhore, and the perfectly awesome Witchgrass. Dinner involved roasted pork tenderloin and a whole lot of Presidente from the Dominican Republic. This was a lager that had the sweetness of a belgain. What the heck do I call it? A lagain? Belger? Damned if I know, but it washed down the spicy food very well.
Then it was off to…well I didn’t write that down. But I did recall that I had the Harpoon IPA, which was no match for the IPAs I get at home. It was more like a pale ale instead of an IPA, but not a bad beer. DJ Manwhore started playing with an old scale in the window, while we discussed healthcare in this country and I went back up to the bar, this time for a McSorley’s.
It’s rare that I get to say this, but; Avoid this beer. I like to take risks with my beer selection and sometimes, it doesn’t pay off. This was one of them: McSorley’s had an ashy flavor in it, which had me recoiling from the first sip.
My final beer of the evening was Loose Cannon. An interesting beer, it was trying to find a middle ground between the mellower British style IPAs versus the severely hopped NW IPAs. Bitter, but not unevenly so, yet with the strength to linger in your mouth long after it had been drank. Probably my favorite beer of the day.