Sunday, September 16, 2007

Red Hook

A neighborhood not far from mine is called Red Hook. Back when Brooklyn used to be one of the great ports this area was home to dock workers of every ilk. Supposedly the area got its name from the tendency of longshoremen to settle their disputes in fights with bailing hooks. Well, not really. It is actually named for its red clay soil and the fact that it is on a point of land that extends into the East River. It was originally named Roode Hoek by the Dutch and "hoek" means point or corner in Dutch. That isn't to say that Red Hook hasn't had a rough past, and it still hasn't been gentrified too much.

The reason I headed there was because on the weekends there is a lively soccer scene at one of the parks and a dynamite selection of food vendors that show up to feed the crowds. This has become so popular (Anthony Bourdain featured it on a recent television show) that the city will probably shut it down. After about forty years with no complaints the city has decided that next year they will put the spots up for bids and enforce new regulations. Of course most of the vendors, working just on week-ends and being small operations, will not be able to comply.

New York is great for this Mickey Mouse stuff. Chinatown during Chinese New Years used to jump, the streets and restaurants were packed. Then it was decided to outlaw fireworks of any type and now the streets are deserted. I mean firecrackers and lion dances and New Years always went together.

Then beer sales at street fairs was eliminated. Talk about putting a damper on things. Making pizza without wearing rubber gloves, even though it has been made that way for generations, now illegal. Homemade mozzarella cheese, a delicacy in Italy, now illegal in New York. And on and on it goes. The very things that have made New York special seem to get legislated out of existence. Oh, but cabs are now required to install GPS devices and accept credit cards, so I guess that is progress.

Well, I could go on and on about this subject, but I won't. At least not today. Instead I will focus on the positive.

The day started out gloomy so the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I thought about waiting until next week to make our pilgrimage. But then about noon the sun came out and the day turned gorgeous. We headed out and as luck would have it we caught a bus as soon as we got to the bus stop, three blocks from our house. Before heading to the soccer field though I decided to make a stop. No surprise there, I guess.

Rocky Sullivan's

Formerly the Liberty Height's Tap Room, it really hasn't changed much. A nice enough bar with a pool table and a suitably dark back room where they have live music at night.

The Back Room

Small round tables and chairs up front and I believe they have pizza. But I just needed a beer to quench my thirst and Rebecca the bartender was happy to oblige.

Bar Man And Rebecca At The Bar

I had a draft Sweet Action brewed by Six Points Craft Ales. It was quite good. Dark with a nice head and a decent 6.9% alcohol content. It is quite crisp which is a bit surprising given its darkness. A nice nutty malty flavor with just a touch of bitterness from the hops. A touch of spice and flowers as well.

The flavor results from a blend of two types of base malts and two types of specialty malts. The malts are both German Pilsner malts and English Pale malts. They also use both English hops which are on the fruity side and German hops that give it the spicy floral touch. Add a Belgian Abbey yeast and ferment it at a low temperature and this is what you get. Quite delicious.

Now, you might ask, how did I come to know so much about this beer. Well, if you go out the back door of Rocky Sullivan's this is what you encounter, the door to...

Six Points Craft Ales

I wouldn't be the Bar Man if I didn't poke my head inside to take a look at this micro-brewery that consistently turns out good brew.

The Guts Of The Operation

As you can see, there was a small tour in progress but I was too late to join in. No problem, I overheard what I needed to overhear. Apparently you can call to arrange a tour for a small group but I don't think they have any regularly scheduled tours.

Just opposite the door to the brewery is a stairway up to a very spacious split level rooftop drinking area. It was empty early this afternoon but I was assured that it packs up later in the day and on summer evenings. I would think so.

Level One

Level Two

I will most certainly make a point of stopping back here again. If only it was a bit easier to get to. But then that is what makes this neck of the woods kind of cool, it isn't really easy to get to by public transportation.

Oh, and if you are planning on visiting Six Points Craft Ales, be sure to go through Rocky Sullivan's. You will miss it otherwise. They have an almost non-existent street presence.

Six Point Craft Ales

No, Really

By the way, you can find Rocky Sullivan's at 34 Van Dyke Street.

Well, I was going to post about the food vendors at the soccer field but I got carried away a bit on my digressions. As a result I will wait until next time to cover the rest of the day. Longish posts can be a bit boring.