Thursday, April 22, 2010

NYC - Part II

After a long day of work, museums and tours, it was late and we knew we had to eat something.  We wanted something quick, casual and affordable.  I set out from the hotel to find an eatery and stumbled upon Dean's Restaurant & Pizzeria, on Second Avenue.  It looked like a local restaurant and it was full of people even at a late hour on a weeknight.  Everyone thought pizza was a good idea and we settled on Dean's.  I think we were the only tourists in the restaurant.  We discovered that Dean's has great pizza, in fact I'm not sure I can remember a better one.

We ordered Dean's thick-crust, rectangle-shaped pizza topped with pepperoni and kalamata olives.  It was served piping hot and was packed with mozzarella, pepperoni and olives.  I was not that hungry and don't generally care for olives on my pizza, but this pizza was so good, I think could have eaten the whole darn thing by myself.  It was the kind of pizza where you burn your mouth with every bite because it's so delicious you can't wait for it to cool.  Dean's beer selection was weak, and the only beer of note was Brooklyn Brewing's Brown Ale.  I had two mugs with the pizza.  (Beer served in mugs bug me, unless they're accompanied by a pitcher, because they generally only hold about 12 oz and are the price of a full pint.)  The Brooklyn Brown Ale was dark, almost like a porter, and malty.  But its body was light, which made it easy to drink.  It was the right beer to go with the pizza (but really, anything short of sour milk would have been good with Dean's pizza). 

The next day we were back in full tourist mode and headed to Katz's Deli for a late lunch.  Katz's is a New York institution that dates to 1886, and it felt like its last remodel was in the '40s or '50s - which is part of its charm.   The walls are full of pictures of celebrities along with neon signs, including signs of defunct regional brewers like Knickerbocker (which closed its brewery in 1965, and was brewed by Pabst until 1997). Katz's is always crowded, even at off hours.  We got our ticket and looked for an opening at the counter to order our sandwiches.   We ordered a pastrami on rye and a corned beef Ruben on rye.  I know I recently raved about the Ruben sandwich I had at The Linkery in San Diego, but with all due respect to The Linkery, I'd give Katz's Ruben the edge.  It's a huge sandwich overflowing with corned beef, sauerkraut, dressing and cheese.  It's not diet food, but you don't eat it every day (although it'd be fun to try).

Katz's must have had fifteen beers on tap, ranging from Bud and friends, to German beers, to craft beers.  It has its own beer, Katz's Ale, which is brewed by Brooklyn Brewing, and is dark and looked like it could have been a private-labeled version of Brooklyn's Brown Ale.  I ordered a Magic Hat No. 9, which is brewed in Burlington Vermont.    This a unique beer.  Magic Hat's website says it's not quite a pale ale and BeerAdvocate lists it as a fruit beer.  I thought it looked and tasted closest to a pale ale.  It poured a clear orange, but it had a strong floral flavor that was prominent throughout the glass.  It reminded me of unsweetened herbal tea, but not in a bad way.  It was a good beer, but distracting in that I kept trying without success to pinpoint its flavors. 

We had another late dinner (after Jersey Boys), this time a Heartland Brewing along Sixth Avenue. Heartland locations are nearly as prevalent in New York City as Starbuck's or Duane Reade drug stores.  Heartland's IPA was drinkable but nothing special and its wheat beer was nasty.

In my walks and travels around the city, I noticed a fair number of English and Irish pubs.  I did not make it to any - I have to have a reason to go back - but I did take a picture of this multi-story pub, boldly named The Perfect Pint.

I think I did well in achieving my beer drinking objectives.  All but one beer was from the East Coast, and I got to try beers from respected New York brewers Captain Lawrence and Brooklyn Brewing.  I live in San Diego, which has earned its high opinion of its role in the craft beer world.  It is good to get some perspective and know that good beer is not only the domain of San Diego, and more importantly that craft beer is showing up in all kinds of places, not just beer geek bars.

1 comment:

Beer Student said...

Not sure if you'll be in NYC through the weekend but thought you might want to check out our Brewed in Brooklyn Tour this weekend. It's a tour of beer brewing past and present in Brooklyn. I think you'd enjoy it. Check it out.