Blog: Get Real NY's Beer Balls
Saturday’s afternoon session of Get Real NY’s “Beer N’ Balls” event was yet another exciting entrée of delicious gluttony at its finest. The 1-4pm gathering would be the first of the day’s two pairings of over 50 distinctive craft beers with twelve different purveyors of tasty, savory meatballs from restaurants from all over New York City. The elaborate 404 Tenth Avenue, home of 2012’s aPORKalypse and the Stinky Cheese Festival, saw each of its three levels transformed into a tri-plexed, foodie paradise as it played host to another massively successful sampling event from the Get Real team. And, with each three hour extravaganza priced at just $37 a ticket, “Beer N’ Balls” also happened to deliver an incredible value on top all of the exciting offered tastes.
Immediately upon entering the space, patrons were handed a small, empty beer glass to stick with them from station to station. The selection of different brews was seemingly endless. From the tasty wheat beers like the Lagunitas Doppelweizen and the Ommegang White to the gluten free (Dogfish’s “DFH Tweason Ale”), to the stouts (Kelso’s Imperial Stout and Keegan’s Mother’s Milk”) to the pale ales (Two Brothers’ Bitter End and Bronx Brewery’s “Bronx Pale Ale” were among our favorites), every possible style had ample representation at Saturday’s event. It gave us the opportunity to taste some different suds and distinguish our dislikes (smoked beers) from some of our favorites (Biere de gardes- “Flying Dog Garde Dog”).
Getting a firm buzz on, we then began parading around the room and soaking up some of the frothy beer pours with some tender meatballs. And most eateries on this day, managed to bring their A game. Our favorite balls of the day were cooked up courtesy of the Manchester Pub. Their combination of a fried pork, bacon, and cheddar meatball was served hot and the salted, un-sauced meat mixture was formed into perfectly prepared spheres. Runners up were Alewife Queens’ Berkshire pork soup dumpling meatballs, served on wonton chips and Tommy Lasagna’s beef and pork meatball sliders, served sandwich style with a foamy bed of ricotta cheese. Alewife’s take was unlike anything else tasted that day, with a soup broth explosion in the first meaty bite. Less traditional certainly, but no meatball is created equal. On the other hand, Tommy Lasagna’s slider could potentially have been a game changer based solely on taste, however we were forced to dock points based on its cold serving temperature. Other vendors certainly deserve honorable mention for their showings from the old fashioned (Zi’ Pep & Pane Panelle’s “polpettine in tomato sauce”) to the inventive (Kupersmith’s “Elk bourginion, venison meatballs with tomato chili and curry ballwurst”) to the savory all around (4Food’s “wild boar meatball with toasted coconut rice and spicy sweet chili sauce.”
As the day progressed and the beers seemed to get richer and thicker, we admittedly got fuller and fuller. And drunker. But the afternoon session of Beer N’ Balls was a complete success. The event was not oversold which meant that we didn’t wait on one line all afternoon for any meatball or beer, which is incredible considering the amount of people inside and the return trips we made for our favorites. Leave it to Get Real NY to configure an affordable, fun event for likeminded New Yorkers looking to spend a portion of their holiday weekends tasting new and exciting food and drinks from all around our area. Judging strictly by the contentment in the faces of each patron we passed, guzzling a fresh brew or wiping tomato sauce from their face after downing another hearty meatball, we weren’t alone in appreciating an event of this caliber being pulled off so seamlessly.
- Jane Van Arsdale