What is there to say about our visit to the stellar Greenwich Village beer stop that is Blind Tiger? Well, in this case, there probably isn’t much to say other than, “Wow, they have a really incredible list of drafts!” We didn't have time to take in much in the way of ambience.
You see, the last time we went to Blind Tiger we were childless so we spent a very decent amount of time at the watering hole. We chatted leisurely while sitting at their sizeable bar. We watched some of an Eagles-Giants contest, cheering for the G-Men because the Eagles had just acquired a scoundrel named Michael Vick. We soaked in the environment of a strangely empty-feeling bar in one of the world’s busiest cities. We may have even sampled some of a specialty chili they had on the specials menu.
And, of course, we downed a lot of tremendous beer.
On our latest visit, pretty much everything had changed. We did not sit at the bar (we now have a kid). We did not watch the Eagles (they were not on and, even if they were, they have now gone far beyond afterthought status in my mind). The bar was not empty (it was a Saturday afternoon, so it was absolutely jammed). And we didn't sample the chili (in fact, I’m not sure we tried the chili last time; we haven’t been there in two years and I am looking at this through a haze created by two years of alcohol consumption and fatherhood, not necessarily in that order).
One thing that certainly did stay the same, of course, was the tremendous depth of choices. With the little guy having fallen asleep in the stroller, we entered into the establishment and posted up at the door. Spicy sent me up to the bar to pick our beers. I saw the name Lagunitas and made a beeline. I have already drooled over the California brewers enough on this blog, but let’s just say that Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale fresh out the tap is a good time. Heavy on the hops, but not without a citrusy backbone that really makes it pop. For the lady, I chose a pumpkin beer that was created via a collaboration between West Coast breweries The Bruery, Elysian Brewing Company, and (jackpot!) Stone Brewing Company. Shockingly enough, Spicy had a sip and I could tell that she was a little underwhelmed. One taste, and I could figure out why: the pumpkin spice was very subtly applied. I loved it because it reminded me of Smuttynose’s delicious yet reserved Pumpkin Ale, but she felt like they could have been a little less stingy with the pumpkin notes. Not disgustingly abundant, like Southern Tier’s undrinkable Pumking, but a little more pumpkin flavor would have been appreciated by her palette.
But in the all’s well that ends well department…one good thing about Wifey not enjoying her beer was that I had even more time than usual to enjoy a second specimen. For number 2, I chose Bear Republic’s Mach 10 Imperial IPA. Now it’s been about nine days since I consumed this beverage, so if you are looking for a detailed description, you will be sorely disappointed. Let’s just say it tasted like someone poured a bunch of hops into a glass, set the water to ice cold, and commenced pouring. Were there other flavors present that made this an enjoyable beer? I’m sure. The fact is though I truly hate it when someone advertises a double IPA and you find that it is basically the power of one of the big boys' singles. This is not a problem for Bear Republic: They brought out the big guns. My father-in-law, an educated hop head, took a sip (we ran into the wife’s parents even after separating to look at some notable hot spots on our individual agendas) and said something along the lines of “Wow.” Not “Wow, that’s great” wow, but more of a “Wow, that’s a lot of hops” wow. When someone is sort of revolted by the amount of hops in a beer, that is a pretty good sign that I am going to really like it.
I would have loved to stick around longer for more scrumptious liquid, but, alas, our son woke up. Suddenly, with his eyes no longer glued shut, it didn’t feel as responsible to be standing in a bar downing suds. So we bid Blind Tiger "Adieu," and got along our way. But not before voicing a silent vow. Like McArthur before me, I pledged to the establishment that I would return. And that will be a promise kept as long as they keep stocking such an adventurous menu of hops-and-barley based options.
Blind Tiger Ale House
281 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014-4106
The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/