One of the ways we justified the holiday to the US of A was that I claimed that ever since I was a young lad I had always wanted to send my 35th birthday in New York. This of course was a huge lie, As I young lad I thought of nothing more Lego and plastic Star Wars toys and could never imagine being 35 years old (back then that was old), let alone give a shit where the old man version of me would spend the day.
But hey it was another thing to add to the list of admittedly rubbery reasons to jet off to the big apple, so I found myself in the world’s greatest city the day I turned 35 (or the day I turned 35 year and one day given that I was born in the land of the long white cloud and we really should account for the time difference)
Because Andre and Cat are awesome people they had arranged for us all to go to a restaurant called Hearth for an extra special Birthday dinner.
This dinner would consist of the seven course ‘Tour of the menu’ and after discussions with our waitress it was decided that she would match beers to each of our courses. So without further ado let’s get cracking on some beer tasting.
We started with Captain Lawrence, which is from the fantastically well named Pleasantville, with is in New York. Although I do wonder if this is one of those ironic names, like Sunshine (which is a grey miserable place) or Bonbeach (which has a beach, but it ain’t that bon) I wonder if Pleasantville isn’t in fact a hotbed of crime, devil worshipping, and general nastiness.
Their IPA was a very nice beer, hoppy but not in a harsh way, it claimed to have five different varieties of hops in it, which probably helped with round off the edges somewhat – Definitely Pint worthy.
As we changed courses we also changed states, down to the hotbed of beer brewing – Florida, yep the Gold Coast of the US, home to thousands of retirees and Cigar City Brewing . We were presented with their MaduroBrown Ale. Our lovely waitress told us this was her favourite beer, and she was a good judge of beer, because this was superb. It smelt like toffee, strong in flavour and almost sweet like a dark rum, malty but with not much aftertaste – I could have drunk this all night, preferably a Jug of it – but there were more beers to try.
Also we moved onto a seafood course we also moved onto lighter beers, the Summertime Kolsch from Goose Island which is a brewery from Chicago Illinois. I should mention at this point that Goose Island have some awesome beer taps with are the head of the Goose (not a real head, they aren’t Brewdog, but rather a wooden one, but it certainly makes their brews stand out in the tap rack).
This beer was a cloudy light yellow colour, it smelt of passionfruit, a touch of citrus and honey. It is a very light and extremely refreshing beer, perfect for summer, but manages to stay interesting. A worthy of a Pint rating.
When the waitress returned with our next course and beer she explained we were about to taste the Two Brothers Cane and Ebel I was a little confused, as you would know I’m a huge fan of 2Brothers, alas we were not about to enjoy a brew from the Moorabbin based brewers but rather from two brothers named Jim and Jason Ebel from Chicago Illinois.
There was no need to fear though, because these brothers (like the Melbournians) know how to brew. The Cane and Ebel was a red ale, They claimed it was creamy although the colour could probably be better described as muddy brown. It had a thin, slightly detergenty head. For some reason I expected it to be sweet, but it simply wasn’t, rather it was all very hoppy, refreshing, very nice and worthy of a Pint.
The beer came in a bottle with a nice circus themed label. In fact all their brews come with cool labels, well worth seeking them out for this reason alone. The beer itself was black with a thin light brown head. The brew smelt a little nutty. The taste was a little thin for my liking and probably needed to be a little heavier to break through the rich dish it accompanied, but it did have a fantastic ability to live on in the mouth long after you’ve finished the sip. It was almost Jug worthy, but not quite, so I’ll have to give it a Pint.
We slipped from here quite nicely into two courses of desert, including some awesome Apple cider donut, complete with a birthday message.
Captain Lawrence IPA – Pint
Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale – Jug
Goose Island Kolsch – Pint
Two Brothers Cane and Ebel – Pint
Smuttynose Robust Porter – Pint