Continuing the theme of my last post, I show here part of a drinks menu from a restaurant in the vicinity of Grand Central Terminal – as midtown as it gets. It is near The Beer Bar, whose sign I showed yesterday (but not from that pioneering establishment, founded 1994. The Beer Bar now blends easily into New York’s beer scene but was a scenemaker in its day).
Kona, the Hawaii-originated, nationally distributed brand from Craft Brew Alliance, makes an appearance. So do two beers from Sam Adams, Rebel IPA and Boston Lager. Two wits appear, both well-known, had it been me I’d have selected one of the two shown and a wit from the New York area.
Stella, the new Bud, is front and centre as is Bud Light – a doughty survivor from the old days – but after that it’s big crafts again, plus Chimay White and Guinness.
This type of list is typical around town but often with variations such as Lagunitas or Stone, or perhaps Barrier, the New York-area brewery whose profile increases every day. Even the average street bar often offers a salting of distinctive local or other craft brands.
The posted list nonetheless is very acceptable with some fine beers, my only argument is there is no characterful porter or stout. Now if Guinness released its 5.3% extra stout currently on supermarket shelves as a draft, that would fix that as it is much tastier than regular Guinness. Of course a strong stout or porter from a New York state craft would be appreciated, too.
This type of menu increasingly will characterize the big cities and finally smaller areas, with adjustments that take in local brands and big craft distributed in the area. Will it displace the diversity of a true local beer scene? Not at all. Brewpubs and beer bars specializing in great beer will ensure further choice.
Considering the realities of business and distribution in many parts of the U.S., the menu shown is a reasonable working out of trends started in the 70s by Michael Jackson, the American Homebrewers Association, All About Beer magazine, Jim Koch, Ken Grossman, Fritz Maytag and many others. Ale Street News, the long-time “brewspaper” edited by Tony Forder, played its part and is still to be found in beer hangouts all over Manhattan.
N.B. The term “chalice” for a characteristic Belgian beer glass, was originated by Michael Jackson. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.