I survived the city of New York and made it home to Minnesota this past Sunday evening. For a short trip, I sure did accomplish a lot. I ate and drank at several different spots and my waistline showed none the worse for wear thanks to our walking multiple miles navigating the cities’ public transit system.
First thing I’ll say for anyone planning on visiting Manhattan, don’t stay in Manhattan. When researching hotel rooms there the prices were huge. After hours of searching I found a gorgeous boutique hotel, The Paper Factory, in Long Island City, just two train stops (and about fifteen minutes) from Manhattan for roughly $200/night. This hotel was half of a block away from the train stop and our room resembled a true Manhattan loft with Bohemian furnishings, glazed concrete floors, a mini kitchenette featuring retro-style appliances, and a spa-like restroom with a large walk-in shower big enough for you plus another if that whets your whistle. I’m not normally in the hotel reviewing business but I’ll definitely stay there again, and I hope if you are looking for a room out there that you’ll give this place a try as well. If you do, tell them @NewClearHarley recommended it, maybe I’ll get some free rub there in the future.
Speaking of getting rub, the second thing I recommend for anyone travelling to NYC is to visit Chinatown and find any of the small reflexology style massage rooms. After five days of hiking the city and abusing my feet and legs going up and down train staircases, nothing felt better than a half hour foot rub. The women at the place where my friends and I stopped were the cure for all that ailed me. These masseuses were bending, twisting, cracking, and pounding my feet into blissful oblivion. After just thirty minutes of foot-al abuse, I left there in a state of euphoria. If you’ve never experienced the healing powers of reflexology before, I cannot state with enough vigor how great my entire body felt just from thirty minutes of getting my feet rubbed.
I don’t remember the exact name of the shop I visited, but I do remember it was a basement shop a block away from an incredible dumpling shop called Vanessa’s. The food there was fabulous and fast and ridiculously cheap – get the soup (with noodles or dumplings) you won’t be disappointed.
Now that I have pimped a couple fun stops along the way, I will finally get back to the beers. Last week I reviewed three beers from smaller NYC breweries that I had the pleasure of sampling at some cute taprooms and restaurants. This week I am going to review three other New York regional brews I enjoyed during our trip. However in this case none of these were at breweries I visited. These all were had at area bars. I probably would’ve needed another four or five days out there to get to visit all the regional breweries that I would’ve liked. Oh well, I guess I need to plan another trip.
Flower Power from Ithaca Beer Company out of Ithaca, NY.
Served: This was served on draft into a pint glass.
Appearance: Hazy golden color with a thin head that held.
Smell: Dominant citrus and hop aroma. Flower Power comes off very floral and not in a rosy sort of way. There is a ton of orange and pine coming through and the aroma just wafts off the head.
Taste: Probably most similar in flavor to Bell’s Hopslam. This beer has a slight honey taste upfront that mellows and is followed by jumbo citrus juiciness. You can really taste the Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial hops which are featured throughout this brew.
Mouth feel: There is a fair amount of prickle on my tongue from the carbonation. That said it finished clean and smooth with little aftertaste but the aroma definitely hanging around my sinuses.
Overall: As impressive an IPA as I have had for a first time tasting of a particular brewery. I hope that I can find their other products in bottles sometime soon to give them a try because if they put this type of love into all of their beers, they deserve to be praised.
Smiling Pumpkin from Heartland Brewing Company out of Brooklyn, NY.
Served: Served on draft into a pint glass.
Appearance: Dark orange and slightly hazy with a thin head that receded fast.
Smell: There is no hiding the pumpkin in this brew. It, along with the pie spice is beyond prominent. If I wasn’t such a huge pumpkin-head it might seem cloying, but when it comes to pumpkin just give it to me. It didn’t even need to warm for the aroma to come out.
Taste: Much like the smell, nothing is held back here. This is what it is cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted pumpkin, caramel, clove, and ginger.
Mouth feel: Much lighter body than most other pumpkin ales, it also finishes extremely clean.
Overall: All of my readers know that I love pumpkin beers. This isn’t going to replace Pumking in my cellar, but it was better than more than half of the pumpkin beers I’ve tried in my day. Light, clean, and refreshing is not what you normally think of with a pumpkin brew. Especially when you consider how much pumpkin pie spice flavor this easy drinker packs.
Oui, Oui! From Dirck the Norseman/Greenpoint Beer and Ale Company out of Brooklyn, NY.
Served: This was served from a growler into a pilsner glass.
Appearance: Lightly-hazed straw gold color with ever-present white head of thick bubbles.
Smell: Bready with the tropical fruit aroma associated with Belgian saison style yeast.
Taste: Pilsner malt paired with pineapple, tart apple, pear and maybe a little lemon.
Mouth feel: Bubbly and palate stimulating thanks to the Belgian yeast strain. This beer finishes clean.
Overall: Really enjoyable, mildly tart, homage to summer. It may be getting closer to snow season in NYC, but this beer will have you thinking about those hot summer nights. A nice little tropical getaway, if I do say so myself.