Taking life by the hops

Taking life by the hops

Let’s face it. Beer happens, and that is exactly what happened to me. There were no beer events on this weekend’s schedule, so I expected it to be a quiet one. It seemed the Beer Gods had other plans for me.

Friday, I was going into New York City to meet up with friends and my glowingly pregnant cousin from California. Originally, lunch was scheduled for 12:30 but because of lingering effects of a lightning strike on the rail lines (a sign?), lunch was re-scheduled for a hour later. With some time to kill, I decided to head over to 33rd street to Rattle N Hum Bar. This bar is frequently mentioned, on Twitter and Facebook, as a great place for craft beer.

And craft beer they did have. Their beer menu was vast—40 beers on tap—with plenty of local New York beers represented. I settled on the Southampton Pumpkin Ale.

A pint of Southampton Pumpkin Ale from Rattle N Hum Bar in NYC

Craptastic phone camera activate!

Considering I was going to have vegan lunch, it seemed appropriate, and ’tis the season for orange squash. It was a solid pumpkin ale, following the pumpkin-pie vein of pumpkin ales. Sad my stay was so short, but I will return October 15, when I come back for the New York Comic Con. (Yes boys, a craft beer loving sci-fi geek.) Rattle N Hum is having a charity event with Great South Bay Brewery to help those in Upstate New York devastated by the floods caused by Hurricane Irene.

Brief though it was, I thought that was the end of my beer travels, but I was wrong. Later that night I ended up on Twitter when a tweet popped up, from Blind Bat.

@BlindBatBrewer: Bottling for tomorrow’s Farmers Market.

@Melba_dnu: So whatcha bringing?

@BlindBatBrewer: Hellsmoke, Hell Gate, and Belfry Brown. Rain or shine!

Wait? What? What is this Belfry Brown he spoke of? I’ve had the Hellsmoke Porter and the Hell Gate Golden Ale before, but the Belfry Brown was completely new to me. So, I took the trip up to the Northport, Long Island, farmers’ market to nab me some Brown. Of course, I got up late, but I raced up to see what I could get. Northport is a pretty town right on the water, and the farmers’ market right on the harbour.

Northport Harbor on a cloudy fall day

Pretty. Even on a cloudy day!

I went up to Paul Dlugokencky, brewer and owner of Blind Bat, and introduced myself properly for the first time. I’ve interviewed him over email, for DnU, so it was nice to meet him in person. For the entire time we talked, his booth was very busy. By the time I got there, he was already sold out of the Hellsmoke Porter (good taste people). I was fortunate that he had the Belfry Brown in question. I picked up 2 bottles, and asked him what was going on in the world of Blind Bat.

Two bottles of Blind Bat Brewing Belfry Brown

Double Brown Good Type of Trouble

His plans are big for 2012, and if he keeps the same excellent quality of beer, I have no doubt he’s going to make it. He’s currently waiting for another fermentor to arrive at his home, and, because of the increased demand for his beer, he is already looking for a new location to expand his operation. He’s looking for a small farm on the north shore of Long Island where he can brew his beer full-time—buh-bye day job. His wife is an organic farmer, so there might be home-grown hops in the future. For now, he is still a small one-man operation in the back of his house. But when that new fermentor comes online, he’ll already have demand; Rattle N Hum wants to carry his beer.

I wished Paul good luck and headed off with my beer, organic veggies, and apple pie. By the time I got home, he was sold out of all his beers.

It was a great ending to my beer weekend. Wait. It’s only Saturday afternoon. Oh boy.