Blog: Edible Manhattan's Good Beer 2013
Edible Manhattan is one of New York City’s most foremost experts on anything well, edible. As such, the magazine is a constant resource for culinary innovations, local produce and business, and host of some of each year’s most anticipated food and drink events. The magazine’s annual “Good Beer” returned in 2013 in a big way on Wednesday night, once again taking over the sprawling space at 82 Mercer, filling the venue with thirsty beer drinkers seeking a place to unwind after a long day at the office. And unwind they did, courtesy of more than twenty different breweries and another twenty restaurants all vying for the room’s attention.
A line extended out from the front doors long before the event’s 6pm kickoff. Once checked in and inside, we grabbed a large tasting glass from the center table along with a trusty map of the host site and it became time to get down on the delectable selections. Our first stop was to Heartland Brewery, one of the City’s original craft brewers. Since the warm weather was in the air outdoors we decided to chill out with their “Summer Apricot Ale,” which was suer drinkable and summer ready, using nothing but real apricots in its production. A few steps away another beachside favorite was in our sights and the team from Luke’s Lobster had an early line forming for their now legendary “Shrimp Rolls.” Their infamous “Lobster Rolls” may be more of a luxury, but at each of these festive tasting events, the brand’s fresh, chilled “Shrimp Rolls” constantly rank amongst the best eats time and time again. Each bite of the sweet shrimp mixed with the buttery toasted bun, capturing everything that’s right about this sea faring treat.
Moments later we caught up with the crew from Rick’s Picks, and instantly began chomping down on handfuls of their beautifully briny pickled treats – cucumber dill and okra variety. This awesome salt explosion then carried us directly to some great ale sampling courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing Company with their caramel amber “Copper Ale” wrapped in their eye catching “Censored” label as well as Long Island’s Greenport Harbor Brewing Company for slugs of their nearly flawless “Summer Ale.” The latter beer drinks down so smooth that one could easily have several pints before saying to yourself, “Oh there’s alcohol in here!” The always impressive team from Gramercy Tavern kept the eats from the ocean trend going strong with a raw citrus infused “Citrus Cured Artic Char and Cucumbers.” These bite sized morsels were simply one of the best things served all evening, as they went well with each pint of delicious suds.
As carnivores, we were pleased to see such a preponderance of pork-laden dishes offered at “Good Beer,” an unfortunate circumstance for vegetarian eaters however. Some of our favorites included East Village newcomer Boulton & Watt’s savory breaded “Brats in a Blanket,” pairing housemade sausage with a curried ketchup, Alison Eighteen’s “Cotechino” pairing braised pork, parmesan and garlic atop a crunchy pork rind, and two semi-departures from The Vanderbilt- a “Summer Duck Sausage with Pickled Cherries”- and West Village haunt Swine, whose “Housemade Duck Proscuitto” topped a crostini alongside house made ricotta and a sweet strawberry balsamic jam. While the bites were small, trips to their tables became all you care to taste affairs as we made several returns back for more. Other noteworthy bites came from L&W Oyster Company (“Crispy Smoked Oyster on Corn Pudding”), Edi and the Wolf (“Red Snapper Ceviche”), and Almond Restaurant (“House Smoked Pastrami”) as well as the evening’s highlight from Long Island’s First and South, whose “Sweet Pepper Soft Pretzel” was doused deliciously in a smoked bay salt and stuffed with black duck porter mustard- perhaps the best food to pair with such an array of good craft beers. Specifically, the “Vunderbar” beer from Smuttynose Brewing Company washed every ounce of flavor down admirably.
From local breweries like Blue Point, Brooklyn Brewery, Kelso Beer, and Sixpoint to restaurants like Allswell, Fort Reno, and Northern Spy Food Company, mentioning all the tasty eats and brews as usual, proves to be impossble. But there was no shortage of options- that’s for sure. Once again, the folks at Edible Manhattan have proven to be first class in event planning and execution, evidenced by the affordable ticket price and the entirely filled up two room space inside of 82 Mercer. And on the last day of July, the event closed out ‘Good Beer Month’ in absolute style.
- Jane Van Arsdale and Jay Rubin