Blog: 2011 NYC Beerathon
Utilizing one of 2011’s final mild afternoons, we were welcomed to the west village to begin Saturday’s Fifth Annual NYC Beerathon. Just a few weeks removed from the annual ING New York City Marathon, the Beerathon replaces running 26.2 miles with drinking 26 beers at 26 different Manhattan bars- if you can somehow make it that long. With a perfectly crafted trail to guide you all day long and an estimated thousand or so thirsty New Yorkers jumping on this year’s bandwagon, it wasn’t difficult to get fully wrapped up in what would be a fun afternoon ahead of us.
The first thing that stood out during our first foray into the NYC Beerathon is the passion embodied by the participants. Packs of different cliques seemingly prepared well in advance for the festivities of November 19th- from wearing matching custom made t-shirts to other simple accessories like Hawaiian leis or birthday hats- and with so many stops to make and new people to meet, who could blame them for not wanting to separate?
It’s important to note that with an event of this size, the lack of organization and lengthy beer lines always seem to have the potential to ruin what would be an otherwise good idea. Aside from a short wait to check-in at the first bar, the west village’s ‘Amity Hall,’ the entire day ran smooth and seamlessly, and everyone involved in organizing the Beerathon could not have been more friendly or welcoming. Once checked-in, the admittance fee secured you a special event lanyard with each of the 26 bars listed. As you make stops at each spot, the bartender hands you your suds and hole-punches the lanyard to mark your progress. Perhaps best of all was the fact that each bar was serving up a completely different beer which gave us the opportunity to discern which we liked and disliked fairly quickly. Not that we would ever dare not finish a frothy beverage placed in front of us, but the event allowed us to taste different varieties that we had previously known little about.
With a long day of boozin’ ahead of us, we arrived at the 11am-1pm check-in at Amity Hall at 12:30pm. The line of people to enter was out the door, but again, it moved incredibly quickly. We were handed our lanyard, a Team Fox sticker, and a map of the tour, highlighting each stop with the bar’s address and the beer being poured. Since the Beerathon could be completed in any order, we were able to bounce around geographically or based on whichever beer was speaking to us at the time. We quickly moved to the back of ‘Amity Hall,’ pounding down beer #1- the Narragansett Lager, an ice cold, crisp brew that seemed infinitely drinkable. Just down the block from there, we dropped into ‘The Half Pint’ for Harpoon’s IPA. Medium bodied, it was not our favorite of the day, but the event was still young and ‘The Half Pint’ was loaded with likeminded and energetic drinkers, having a great time.
Our next stop was ‘Triona’s’ on Sullivan Street. Candidly, this was our first time at this bar, and we really enjoyed ourselves- the orange slice laden Blue Moon certainly didn’t hurt, sweetening up the relative bitterness in our mouths. Talk about contrasts, though- next up was ‘Slane’ on Macdougal Street- again, just a stone’s throw away- for a dark pour of Newcastle Brown Ale. While it was certainly a change of pace taste-wise, we struck up a conversation with some good folks from New Jersey which helped to pass some of the time.
Next up, we were on to some more familiar west village haunts- ‘Thunder Jackson’s Urban Roadhouse’ was pouring a delicious Shocktop Ale, a sweeter, Belgian style beer, made with real oranges. Here, we met several other Beerathoners who were more than happy to share the love, handing us free shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey, which we subsequently slugged down. Admittedly, this may have led to our eventual downfall, but when someone offers you shots on a beer crawl, you take them. After stopping briefly into ‘Kenny’s Castaway’s’ (George Killian’s Irish Red), we headed east toward Alphabet City, for a seat at the bar at ‘Nice Guy Eddie’s’ and the summery taste of Landshark Beer. The bartenders here were sociable and good-natured, and we made sure to take our time before heading out to what would be our final destination.
‘Idle Hands Bar’ seemed like the ideal final stop for us. After all, what goes better than beer and bourbon than rock music? We headed to the basement for some cups of NYC Lager, grabbed a seat at a table and goofily recalled the afternoon that had seemingly passed us by too quickly. We had checked out a bunch of different bars, met some really great locals, and tasted different beers that we evaluated and enjoyed. With a concert to get to later that evening, we only made it to 8 of the 26 bars with the shots sending us home earlier than expected. While our own performance at the 2011 NYC Beerathon may have been somewhat disappointing, the event surely was not- giving us all the more reason to strive for bigger and better numbers next year, where we will undoubtedly be back for seconds.
- Jane Van Arsdale