Sunday, March 18, 2012
Sixpoint Craft Ales / That time I went to Birreria...
Birreria is a roof top bar/resturaunt in NYC run in collaboration with the brewers of Dogfish Head, Baladin, and Del Borgo. It is essentially an Italian beer garden with amazing food and beer.
But first, let me explain an important, but little known, Law of the Universe: The Law of Simon and Garfunklism - if you take the title of a Simon and Garfunkle song and put something behind it, like a noun, then that noun, whatever it is, is guaranteed to be amazing. Take for example Bleeker Street Pizza - amazing pizza. I think they are one of the 300,000 pizza places in New York City that have a sign that says they have the city’s best pizza. They are the only ones telling the truth. Another example: I have a Subaru, it saves my life daily, and it has a little something under the hood called the Boxer engine. It is an amazing engine that goes fast. One more example - Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey (the movie) - the story of two dogs and a cat and their trek across the country to be reunited with their owners, featuring the voices of Micheal J. Fox, Sally Field, and Don Ameche - rent that movie and try not to laugh, cry, or forget your troubles for 84 minutes. The feel good movie of a generation.
(Just one more thing about the universe that they can’t teach you in college but that you can find out about thanks to Beer on my Shirt…)
So we ate at Bleeker Street Pizza and it was awesome. Then we walked around a bit, going in and out of a few random pubs. We walked into one and the bartender, with a very English, or maybe Irish accent, asked of if we were there for the football game, meaning soccer. It was one of those moments where I felt if I knew the correct response it would get me into a secret backroom poker game that could change my life - like that movie Rounders, or like that episode of 90210 where Steve and Andrea drive around giving eggs to convenience store clerks in hopes of finding the secret location of a rave. But alas, we had no eggs so I answered honestly and said no, we were not there for the football game, we were there for beers. He asked what we’ll have and after the worst conversation I'd ever had with food and beverage service professional while sober, I ended up ordering a Sixpoint, a brewery I had never heard of.
Sixpoint? I asked the bartender what it was.
He said it was beer.
I asked what kind of beer.
He said it was a local brewery.
I said “but what TYPE of beer is it”.
He look confounded so I de-escalated the situation and just said for him to give me one. It was amazing. So I asked what it was called, trying to get more info, and the bartender looked at me like I was the Helen Keller of his entire customer history and said “Sixpoint.” I felt like I was in an outtake of a parody of the Departed, what with accents and circular dialogue. Perhaps if I had said I was there for the football game he would have been more forthcoming with his information. Either way, I drank it and loved it.
A few pubs and hours later and my fancy friends are walking around with boxes of cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. I ducked into a bar to use the bathroom and to avoid the homo-erotic segment of our outing - grown men skipping around the city eating pink cupcakes and licking icing off their fingers, saying “look, isn‘t that Adrian Brody?”. I asked the bartender what interesting beers he had and he was kind enough to introduce me to a can of Sixpoint Sweet Action. The can itself is as pretty as Adrian Brody eating a messy cupcake, and it hit me that this is the same beer I had a few pubs back - only now I knew it’s full name and that it comes in a 16 oz. can.
At that moment, all I needed were two twenty pound barbells, my shirt off, a full length mirror, a chalkboard, and Minnie Driver and I would have felt just like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, except I was in New York City with no real reason to take my shirt off. Beer really does have some marvelous side effects. I wanted to run back to the pub from earlier, it may or may not have been called The Red Lion, slam my empty Sweet Action can down on the bar in front of Captain Vaguery and say “how ‘bout them apples.”
We slowly made our way to Eataly, the Italian market that Birreria sits atop of, and found ourselves immersed in a world of meats and cheeses that words cannot describe. An elevator took us to the roof top and we were seated quickly and treated kindly. The operation is pretty impressive, although the place itself was smaller than I imagined, giving it a level of intimacy I was not expecting. They offered three cask beers that are brewed on site and only available there - I had the Gina, a pale ale brewed with thyme. It was amazing and I could have drank it forever. But at $10 a pint I think forever meant somewhere in the area of two or three. We also had their finest selection of meats and cheeses, which set us back a pretty penny but really added to whole experience. The place had a great vibe, we were drinking some of the finest, freshest beer that I had ever had, the sun was shining down on us on a rooftop in one of the greatest cities on the world, and we were laughing and enjoying some quality imported meats and cheeses. If it were a only dream, I would wake up glad to have had it. But it was real - and I stole a menu to prove it. And I took a photo of said stolen menu to prove that I stole it to prove that my time at Birreria was real. That's some improper use of the Law of Syllogism for the domes of all those logic-heads out there - put them hands in the air! What what! Quod Erat Demonstrandum, biznitches. I'm about to Law of Detachment your arms and beat you with them if you don't keep your mouth shut. Where's my beats, DJ?
Our day ended in Little Italy with a family style feast followed by me stumbling into a bakery searching out cannoli and cheesecake. When the man asked what I would like I ordered a cheesesteak. Eventually, with a little help from friends, we figured it out - but that was one pissed off baker. Regardless, I could have watched him tie knots 'round boxes for days. His hands were magical.
More about Sixpoint…
I’ve had a few more of their beers since the trip to NYC with my favorites being the Sweet Action (5.2% ABV) - a creamy, hoppy ale; Resin (9.1% ABV) - a piney, malty, balanced but sticky double IPA that came in a 12 oz can with dimensions similar to a Red Bull; and Diesel (6.3% ABV) - a stout that has a nice smoothness but also some bitterness that a normal stout doesn’t typically have - it is almost like a lighter Imperial Russian Stout with a milder but similar flavor profile to something like Old Rasputin. I love their packaging but the beer is pretty outstanding as well.
The Sixpoint Sweet Action was a featured choice at the Beer on my Shirt Holiday Party, and it was a hit. I would like to tell you more about the Holiday Party, like the other beverages available, but I don’t really remember much other than a conversation about baby nurseries, my awkward attempt at shaking an acquaintance’s hand that involved me pointing at his hand with my hand (an orangutan has more social couth than all Beer on my Shirt employees combined, excluding the 3 orangutans that work in the mail room, obviously), and Andre’s insistence on discussing celebrity pornography in the presence of ladies, including one particularly disturbing comparison of the picture quality of my video baby monitor to his Paris Hilton DVD.
I've had a chance to try the Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, but had it just once and all I remember thinking was that it was different than what I expected. Also had the Spice of Life Warrior on draft a few weeks ago. The Spice of Life is monthly series where they make a single hop IPA, using a different hop each month - which is pretty cool because most of the time multiple hops are used in a beer, making it difficult to pick out what each hop is bringing to the table - especially for the un-initiated - but with a single hop series, it gives you an opportunity to wrap your head around that one particular hop. I had the Warrior hop and upon my first sip I thought - well, I guess I’m not a fan of the Warrior hop - but by the end I was really digging it and would have had another if time had allowed.
In Summary: Sixpoint makes some quality brews. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed. And if you are (dissapointed), let me know and I’ll come get drunk in your garage while your eating dinner. Problem solved.
P.S. Here is a picture of my fantasy baseball team in one the leagues I'm in. It's a 13 team roto league for the geeks out there. The draft happened about two weeks ago. I feel pretty good about it. A couple things on there make me a little nervous, but overall I think it turned out all right considering I had the 13th pick.