This week I want to follow up on my previous blog about tap takeovers. I'm also going to talk about the joy that is finding good beer at unexpected locations.
I mentioned I'd be going to a Founders tap take over at the Blind Tiger in Greenwich Village. The featured offering was their new IPL, Dissenter. The reason I went, however, was for three simple letters, KBS. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, aged in bourbon barrels, is one of the best reviewed beers out there, and Blind Tiger happened to have two vintages on tap, 2011 and 2014. I had limited time that night so I had one of each, at $6 for a 6oz pour. While that may seem steep, I've paid $10 for an 8oz pour at other KBS tappings. The 2011 was good, not great. The extra aging didn't really give it more depth of flavor, if anything it gave it a slight metallic taste. The Founders rep on site said back in 2011 the brewery was using leased kegs, so it's possible the keg holding the beer these past 3 years wasn't the best vessel to hold this goodness. The 2014, on the other hand, was flawless. As it says on the KBS bottles, it's everything a flavored stout should be. It goes without saying, if you hear of a KBS tapping, you need to go. And you also need to let me know when and where, cause I'm going too.
As craft beer becomes more popular it's beginning to show up in some surprising places. I've gone to two such places recently, and both of them are Asian restaurants. The first was Han Dynasty, home of some of the spiciest Chinese food I've ever had. Dan dan noodles, wontons in hot chili, spicy cucumbers. After all that hot food, I needed something to cool it off and the surprisingly strong tap list did the trick. I opted for the Goose Island Sofie saison. The crisp, citricity of this farmhouse ale helped keep the heat in check. There were some other solid options as well, with beers from Singlecut, Sixpoint and Lagunitas. Highly recommend this place if you like your Chinese with some kick!
Another recent find was at Aura, a little hole in the wall Thai restaurant in Hell's Kitchen that up until a few months ago literally had a hole in the wall to walk through to the adjoining restaurant. The bad news is the hole has since been walled over. The good news is they still have a solid tap and bottle list which is offered at half price every day of the week from 4pm - 8pm. Most recently I had the Ommegang Hennepin, served beautifully in a gold rimmed Hennepin goblet, for $4 bucks(!) to go with my pad kee mao. I like a saison with my spicy Asian food, what can I say. They also had on tap Bluepoint Toasted Lager, Lagunitas IPA, amongst others and a large bottle list as well. A highly recommended option for a cheap meal and some beers before an event at the Garden.
Do you have any surprising beer locations? Let us know in the comments!