Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bastille Day, Bah!!

Well, today is Bastille Day, or at least its anniversary. And all of the papers seemed to think that it was going to be celebrated today in my neighborhood. Well, all of the papers got it wrong. The streets were crowded, but with cars, not pentague courts. There were signs saying that the streets would be closed on Sunday though, and there was a sign inside Bar Tabac saying that the pentaque tournament would be Sunday as well. Oh well, what can you do. I live close-by so I will head back.

Luckily, I stopped into Brazen Head on my way to the street fair so my disappointment was mitigated a bit by a few beers under my belt.

Brazen Head

It was a bit of luck that got me to pop in here today. The bartender, Vicki, doesn't usually work on Saturday so meeting her was a stroke of good fortune. She was most entertaining and we had a lovely chat as I sampled some beers.

Vicki Pulling An Ale

Brazen Head usually have a couple of cask conditioned ales on hand and I always like to try them. You may remember my write-up on one of their recent Cask Ale Festivals. They usually have three or four of them every year.

The beer Vicki was pulling was a Cricket Hill Belgian Summer Ale. Well, that is what the sign on the cask said. It is actually Cricket Hill Jersey Summer Belgian Ale. But why quibble. Cricket Hill is, as you might imagine, located in New Jersey. Fairfield, to be precise. I had never heard of it until today though.

The Jersey Summer Belgian Ale is quite nice. Not as heavy as a lot of cask conditioned ales, but a lot heavier than most summer ales. It didn't have much of a head and reminded me a bit of some of my attempts to make a home brew. It had a nice malty taste to it, but not over-powering. It was nicely drinkable and at 5.5% alcohol isn't exactly a session beer, but won't put you on your back either.

They also had a cask conditioned ale labeled Butternut Stout. I am not sure who makes this or if it was properly labeled. I just has a small taste of this and I didn't particularly care for it. It tasted a bit sour to me although Vicki said the cask had just been tapped. Well, some people like a bit of sourness to their beer. I don't mind it in some Belgian ales, but it just didn't seem to go with this one.

Vicki and Bar Man Sampling Beers

I also had a Red Seal Pale Ale that I found to be quite pleasant. Red Seal is brewed by the North Coast Brewing Company located in Fort Bragg, California. This was a good quaffing beer, no overpowering flavors to it, but quite pleasant. Another 5.5% beer so you do get a bit of bang for your buck.

Vicki said her favorite beer on tap was the Chelsea Irish Rye Stout. She gave me a taste and it was so good that I ordered up a whole pint. This is brewed by the Chelsea Brewing Company located right in downtown Manhattan. This brewery, much like Brooklyn Brewery, turns out a lot of good beers and seldom turns out a clunker. I like to visit their pub and restaurant located right nest to the brewery too. It is right on the Hudson River and you can easily forget you are in one of the busiest cities in the world.

But, I digress. The Irish Rye Stout was fantastic. Light for a stout but with dynamite flavor. It poured dark and had a nice light toffee colored head to it. You definitely got hints of coffee flavor too, as well as chocolate. You also get a hint of a kind of spice and rye at the back of the throat, kind of like an afterthought. At a hefty 7.5% this goes down way too easily. Vicki said that although she really liked it she could probably only drink one. Bar Man is not so sure about himself. It is a dry stout so it doesn't have that cloying sweetness common to most. I could easily sit on the deck, if I had a deck, grilling hamburgers or something and drinking this all afternoon.

This sign caught my eye on the way out. I am not sure if those who are in Jeanne Palfrey's little black book would agree though.

Happy Hooker

Well, you can probably understand why I wasn't all bent out of shape by there not being a Bastille Day Street Fair today. Now I have something to look forward to tomorrow. I had planned to grab a bite to eat though, so I headed to the Waterfront Ale House where I had a nice crispy red snapper salad and a bottle of Brooklyn Brewery's Local 1. I have written about this beer before, but let me say again, it is a great Belgian style ale brewed right in the heart of Brooklyn.

Bar Man and Local 1

Tomorrow I shall try to Bastille Day Street Fair again so stay tuned. No stopping off on the way either. Maybe I will cash in one of my free drink chips at Angry Wade's and then stop into Bar Tabac for mussels. Yesterday Bar Tabac was packed though, so I suppose it will be even more crowded today.

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