My search for the best beer in New York continues….
I don’t like to do what everybody else does. So when I go to a wine bar, I turn my nose up at all those Cabs and Syrahs and instead I ask, “What’s on tap?”
That can now be a loaded question since many bars and restaurants are actually putting wine on tap. And I would think most people who order from the tap at the downtown location of Terroir are indeed drinking their popular Gotham Project Riesling. But Teroir Tribeca also has five impressive craft beers for people like me who want to cause trouble.
The first one I tried was the Kelso Brett IPA. The moment I ordered it, the waitress warned me that it’s not your usual IPA and tastes more sour since they actually use brettanomyces, a yeast strain used in styles like geuze and lambic. Wow! I got a long-winded lesson and all I wanted was to try the beer. See, this is why wine snobs get a bad rep.
I suppose her warning was warranted since it certainly is not your “typical IPA.” I can’t imagine any beer bar giving this warning out unprompted, but instead would encourage you to just try it.
The unusual beer had a pretty deep orange color with a hazy complexion (I’m sure this was unfiltered). Yeast characters were most notable on the nose, giving way to some subtle orange peel and fresh hops. The beer was quite dry with a touch of sourness. You could get some hop notes at first, but it finishes with more of a citrus tartness and a distinct barnyard funk. The wild yeast seems to be at the forefront here so it definitely falls closer to a Belgian style IPA than stuff we’re used to here in America. That being said, I liked the subtle hoppiness balanced with the wild yeast flavors of the beer.
Southampton’s Double White is not nearly as uncommon. In fact, it’s pretty common to find it all across the city, especially at this time of year. I almost reviewed this as my first official beer at Beer Parc, but hesitated because of what I believed was a bad tap line. The brewery itself is just about at my 90 mile out of NY limit on the south shore of Long Island.
The beer is an interesting one. It’s a double wheat beer, which is similar to a traditional Belgian-style wheat, but doubled in intensity. Even though it was served in a larger glass, I drank it rather quickly. The inch or so of foamy head started disappearing rather quickly from the cloudy golden beer. I smelled lots of bready yeast with some white pepper and lemon. Crispness followed as I took a big sip and the flavors of honey and ginger balanced the spicy earthiness. It was stronger (at 6.6%) than most wheat beers and had a bite that was enjoyable and intense (no wimpy lemon wedges here!).
As much as I judged the snobby wine folk sitting around me, they were all laughing and enjoying and here I was taking copious notes and photos of beer. At a wine bar, for Chrissake! Who’s the snob now?
Is Kelso’s Brett IPA the best beer in NY? It’s an unusual style and I liked the unique take on normally hoppy IPA’s. The sourness on this slightly overwhelmed all the hops but it was still a drinkable 8 out of 10.
Is Southampton’s Double White the best beer in NY? This is a much more intense summery white and gets a 9 out of 10 for having those citrusy peppery flavors, but no need for a lemon wedge.
|KELSO OF BROOKLYN|
|SOUTHAMPTON PUBLICK HOUSE|
|24 Harrison Street (between Greenwich and Hudson Street),