Blog: Edible Manhttans Good Beer 2012
You know that look your face makes when you’re about to dig into your favorite dish or sip a tasty brew? The anticipation. The taste of the flavors coming together. Multiply that times sixty five and you’ll understand the collective expression on the faces of the attendees of Edible Manhattan’s 4th annual Good Beer event on Tuesday night. This all out celebration of decadence went down at the popular and highly spacious 82 Mercer, in the trendy SoHo district. The venue’s two large rooms were transformed into a non-stop sampling of delicious and often innovative eats from some of New York City’s most celebrated establishments. And since the evening’s festivities were all about the sudsy stuff, patrons needed to walk just a few short feet to sample a plethora of distinctively excellent beers. With beer and food purveyors alternating along the exterior walls of the space, there was certainly enough to imbibe and to satisfy each patron inside of the sold out event, hosted on the final day of July’s Good Beer Month.
Upon entry, every ticket holder picked up a tasting sized Stella Artois challis- a classy touch to begin an evening of carousing. We didn’t waste any time admiring the glass, and instead opted to parade over to Syracuse’s “Empire Brewing Company,” in order to fill it with our first brew. Our crew went for hearty pours of their popular ‘American Strong Ale,’ which presented a sweet nose coupled with a highly drinkable yet bold, hoppy taste sensation. Additionally, the beer has a 9% ABV, making it a fantastic way to get an early ‘Good Beer’ buzz on. After a second pour we made our way to our first food tasting, and perhaps the most adventurous one of the entire event. Boerum Hill Brooklyn’s’ Mile End came out Tuesday night with guns blazing. Their dish- a ‘Confit Chicken Gizzard Kabob wrapped in Lamb Bacon’ sounds as exotic as it tasted. Both savory yet distinctive ingredients found a way to blend together in a symphony of meaty goodness, brought together with a sweet, almost sticky finish. All of this without a hint of gamey tastes or texture, making this early offering among Good Beer’s best tasting dishes.
Looking to spice things up a bit, we headed to 508 Restaurant & Bar’s table for their ‘Bulgogi Sliders with Korean BBQ Marinated Beef Brisket.” Topped with fresh cucumbers, pickled jalapenos, and a spread of kimchi aioli on a brioche bun, the three bite sandwich crept up on us with an overpowering heat. The slider presented the hearty brisket flavor we have come to love with a collection of spice filled ingredients took over our mouths, giving each of us the sweats and hiccups. Luckily, this rush was quickly cooled out by way of ’508′s’ tasty dark ales.
The brew highlights continued with Park Slope’s popular Bierkraft. Owner Ben Granger was present to pour their home brewed ‘Berliner Weisse,’ our first and only sour, fruity style ale of the event, but certainly the most unique. After Granger filled our glasses with beer, he poured a deep red ginger-fruit concoction into our glasses. The syrupy mixture combined with the beer provided a summery taste, which made us wish that we could guzzle the stuff outside. But alas, the security staff on hand firmly shook their fingers at us and we returned to another vendor. Keeping with the home brew theme we traveled over to the folks at “Brooklyn Brew Shop.” The highly successful sellers of a nationally recognized home brewing kit and book came to Good Beer with their ‘Jalapeno Saison.’ The Saison is a personal favorite of mine, and I swear to make it at home when I have the gall. It stood out as our favorite beer of the entire event, meshing the vegetable’s flavor just a hint of heat. The flavors were complex, but the finish was surprisingly refreshing and the beer stood out as both creative and delicious at once.
With upwards of fifty beers and with more than 25 area restaurants on hand for Good Beer, filling up was no issue. Choosing the highlights of the event however proved more challenging. With the Jalapeno offering firmly entrenched in first place, 1A belonged to the craft masters at “Southampton Publick House” and their ‘Abby Single,’ which was yeasty and fruity with a light golden appearance. Our crew could not stop commenting on how much it reminded us of sitting at the beach and just drinking on a warm day. As far as the food servings went, two stood out as the evening’s highlights in addition to the aforementioned “Gizzard.” Among our favorites were The Bedford’s, “Grilled Sumac-Ginger Pork Belly with Anson Mills Grits”, which seemed to be a true farm to table delight. The uncured pork belly exploded with juice with every marbled bite and paired excellently with the creamy grits and accompanying pickled watermelon accoutrements. Meanwhile, the fact that Gramercy Tavern ranks atop this list should come as no surprise and their “Curried Striped Bass” dish was exceptional to say the least. The choice selection of bass sat in a brilliant creamy green soup-like base along with fresh corn niblets. Each sip and bite evenly distributed the overwhelmingly tasty curry infused broth with a delectably prepared fish. Just an outstanding offering by one of the city’s most sought after restaurants.
After the last beer was poured and the final edible had been grabbed, we looked around the room to see 82 Mercer still packed full with overjoyed event goers who had just taken part in a highly memorable evening. Somehow the folks at Edible manage to outdo themselves year after year, event after event, pairing affordable ticket prices with some of the best eats and drinks our city has to offer. If you attended Tuesday night’s event, then I hope your morning is going okay. Just drink lots of water and try to eat light today. If you didn’t make it out on Tuesday, now is your wake up call. Stay tuned to LocalBozo.com to Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn’s calendar for the next time they bust out another festival of gluttonous fun.
- Jay Rubin