New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Brooklyn Brewery

Last night's trip to the Brooklyn Brewery was a lot of fun, as it always is. I met Marty after work at around 6:30 p.m. on the northwest corner of 57th and Seventh (the opposite corner from Carnegie Hall) and we took the subway to Brooklyn together. We stopped for pizza at a small pizza shop on Bedford Avenue (I hadn't had lunch) and then walked to the Brewery on North 11th Street. Adam had gotten there first, and we all got beers and sat on sacks of grain and shared the latest news of what's going on in our lives.

I got a beer called Brooklyn Abbey Ale, a "Brew Master's Reserve" ale. Abbey Ale is the Brooklyn Brewery's version of "the wonderfully complex beers traditionally brewed by Belgian monks of the Trappist order." It is brewed from a blend of Belgian and German malts, and fermented with a "special yeast derived from one of Belgium's remaining monastic breweries." It is a "strong, complex, russet-brown ale with a spicy aroma reminiscent of chocolate, cloves, dates, and figs. The palate opens with a short burst of sweetness but finishes dry."

The Abbey Ale was spectacular, and three went down effortlessly, which turned out to be it for the evening.

Webster joined us after a while, so that was the extent of our beer group, Marty, Adam, Webster, and me (Victor). I had been waiting to tell them all about my million dollar idea. So finally, I did. How did it go over with the guys? Not so well. They weren't as enthusiastic about my idea as I was. Maybe I didn't communicate it well enough, or maybe it's just not such a great idea. I'll have to think about what to do with it. I won't be disheartened, it's good to keep generating ideas, million dollar or otherwise.

It was nice enough just to sit around and sip fine beers in the brewery. When we got there at around 7:15 p.m. it wasn't very crowded but as we were sitting there hundreds of people filed past us and filled the place up. The brewery is basically a big, old Brooklyn warehouse near the East River with beer vats and brewing equipment on one side and a "Tap Room" with a dozen or so long picnic tables on the other side.

They usually have about ten beers on tap, including a variety of seasonal offerings. To buy beers you first have to get beer tokens at the front. Beer tokens are wooden coins that say "Brooklyn Brewery" on one side and "Good For One Beer" on the other. You take your wooden Brooklyn beer money to the tap guys and exchange it for beery goodness. There's also a tip jar, of course.

I like the Brooklyn Brewery because, well, it's cheap, as am I, but also because it's not a bar, you're actually in a brewery, the place where the beer you're drinking was made. There's a gray-and-white brewery cat that slinks around while everybody tries to entertain it. There's good music (I recall hearing a fair amount of Nirvana last night). And if you don't care for the picnic tables you can just lean against sacks of barley or hops and set your beer on a stack of empty pallets. Setting your beer on a pallet is what America is all about!

Also I like it because it's a short walk home for me. I said goodbye to Marty, Adam, and Webster and walked home, where I made some instant soup and watched boxing on Showtime.

Now it's Saturday and I'm watching the very beginning of what they're calling a blizzard here in New York. It's 12:26 p.m. and the snow just started a half hour ago but it's really beginning to accumulate. I'd normally be pretty excited about it (I think it's pretty when it snows in New York until the snow gets dirty) but my wife is in Chicago right now and she's planning to fly back to New York tomorrow, which could be problematic.

I feel good today except for being a bit cold. Upstairs it's okay but when I went downstairs to make coffee this morning the thermometer on the wall said it was 45 degrees fahrenheit. Indoors, not outdoors. I'll have to turn on the downstairs space heater so the pipes don't freeze.

My plans today include going to the bank, going to karate, cleaning the house, saving America, doing some writing, and making a million dollars.


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