It was one of those bleak, damp days where spring was masquerading as fall.
Not much was going on in my world. I looked up at the tree on my block with the two bags still tangled in the branches.
They looked down at me and asked:
Two Bags in Branches: Don’t you have anything better to do than stalk us?
I had news for those bags, I did have something better to do and I was on my way to doing it. I was hightailing over to Brew York City.
What’s Brew York City? It’s the recently opened growler beer bar located in the Duane Reade at 2148 Broadway between West 75th and West 76th Streets. Since I know absolutely nothing about what a growler bar is and I happen to like beer very much, the time had come for me to check this place out.
Once inside I saw nine taps, eight with craft brew beer and the ninth was a cider.
Lyndon the Helpful was my guide. He explained to me that the growlers are the bottles, selling for $3.49 for the 32 oz size or $3.99 for the 64 oz version.
Once a customer purchases a bottle, when he or she returns for more beer, since they already own the bottle, all they pay for are the suds. 32 oz refills are $5.99 and 64 oz reinforcements sell for $8.99.
Works for me. Gimme the 32 oz model.
I asked Lyndon a question he has probably answered 3,417 times:
Me: So why do they call the bottles growlers?
With a wry grin he explained:
Lyndon: A long time ago when you bought beer this way and you took it home and opened the bottle it would make a growling sound.
Me: But the bottles don’t growl now?
Lyndon: No, they don’t growl anymore.
Me: Why did they stop growling?
Lyndon: The beer’s made different these days. [placating me] When you open your bottle, it’ll pop.
Gee, I was hoping my bottle would open with a deafening roar.
We change the subject to what kind of beer I should get. I know the beers I like include Stella, Bass Ale, Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada and I know when I was last in this Duane Reade two days earlier for alcohol-free Q-tips they had Brooklyn Lager on tap but that one’s not available today. The taps are refreshed frequently.
Lyndon suggests I go with the Goose Island Summertime. The tap is a little goose head and neck. It’s 47 degrees and gray as death outside. I balk. On cue, Pedro the Cheerful arrives to have his 64 oz growler refilled. A very pleasant chap, he asks Lyndon a question that is certified genius to my ears:
Pedro the Cheerful: What’s your freshest tap?
Lyndon the Helpful: That’ll be the Brew Free or Die IPA.
Pedro the Cheerful: Great!
Pedro hands Lyndon his growler. Pedro and I make small talk. He claims that he likes the weather.
Me (astounded): It’s damp! It’s dreary! It looks like fall out there!
Pedro the Cheerful: I’m okay with it!
Lyndon hands Pedro his growler and asks me:
Lyndon: Have you decided which one you want?
Me: I’ll have what he’s having.
I decide this simply in the hope of catching some of Pedro’s positive outlook on life.
Although I could buy a Brew York City glass for $2.50, I resist since I have plenty of glassware in my sanctum sanctorum for my initial taste of this craft brew from 21st Amendment, a brewery located in San Francisco.
Before paying, Lyndon urges me to take a slip of paper with the web address for Beermenus.com. Since I have zero confidence in my memory’s capability to recall an address so simple, I heed his advice. This site has a nice overview of the craft beers available on any given day at various Brew York City locations.
Once home, before I pop open my silent growler I have to decide on what glass to use.
Do I go with a glass that reflects my dour personality?
Or, should I treat these fresh suds with dignity?
For my initial tasting I travel on the best behavior road. I open my growler. It makes a little pop. I think:
Me (thinking): Eh.
Then, I pour my first glass. I like the frothy head.
I take my first sip. My eyes bug out and I think:
Me: What the hell am I drinking, lighter fluid?
Yet, I quickly grow to enjoy this refreshing IPA with its “solid malt background and hoppy flavor.” At 7% alcohol content, it also has a nice kick. $5.99 for a quart of fresh craft beer I can take home in my very own non-growling growler strikes me as a very good deal on what had been a very gloomy spring day.