The Blind Tiger Ale House in Manhattan is a gem of a watering hole.
The Blind Tiger Ale House in Manhattan is a gem of a watering hole.

Part 2 of my travels took me to New York City after a short train ride from Philadelphia. Anyone who’s spent time in NYC knows that the sheer number of restaurants and bars can be a little hard to sift through. Instead of Googling something like “best beers new york”, which wouldn’t have been much help, I found the following places by Google Mapping “beer” in my surrounding area. Surprisingly, this worked pretty well.

After work one Thursday afternoon, I found myself in New York’s West Village, near the NYU campus. The area itself felt fairly “collegy” though there seemed to be a good mix of bars and restaurants. My first find was Blind Tiger, an older tiny corner bar located on Bleecker Street which is apparently known for less than wonderful bars.

 An eye for
An eye for an…beer?

First things first, this might be the most personable bar I’ve ever been in (with the exception of those in the UP of Michigan) which I was absolutely not expecting being in one of the biggest cities in the world. I took a seat at the corner of the bar to check out their extensive beer menu. Within 5 minutes, I had heard several stories from the three elderly gentlemen sitting next to me, all of whom had clearly been coming here for years. All were known by name by each of the bartenders and talked to them like family. In fact, one bartender in particular (I believe her name was Kate), knew about 3/4 of the patrons by name. Needless to say, I was very impresed.

They had just hosted a beer event from Founders so their roughly 40 beers were scattered with various offerings from Michigan. Being a New York state brewery, I went with the He’Brew Hop Manna which is their newest beer for 2012. I found this to be an excellent IPA that was moderately bitter but extremely refreshing. As with most IPA’s that really do it for me, it had an undertone of citrus flavour and a floral scent. Overall, a great find that I’ll do my best to track down in Chicago.

Before leaving I got a taster of the Blue Point Toxic Sludge, a Black IPA from Long Island, NY. While not really to my taste, I would highly recommend anyone who enjoys a very full bodied hoppy yet malty ale should give this a try. In fact, if you find yourself in NYC, make the trek to Blind Tiger as any beer lover will find themselves right at home.

 Blind Tiger ( 1 ) & Peculier Pub ( 2 ) in New York's West Village near the NYU campus.
Blind Tiger ( 1 ) & Peculier Pub ( 2 ) in New York’s West Village near the NYU campus.

For my last stop of the day, I chose to check out Peculier Pub (yes, that is spelled correctly) in the same neighborhood. While definitely a more collegy place, their draft selection was impressive though they had more common beer than found at Blind Tiger. It struck me as the kind of place that would be pretty unbearable late at night when crowded but was just fine in the late afternoon when I visited.

Continuing what had become my IPA heavy trip, I chose the Ithaca Flower Power IPA, brewed in Upstate New York. This turned out to be arguably my favourite beer of the whole trip. I found it to be pretty heavily hopped with a very distinct floral note which pretty much describes my prefect beer.

 Good beer, not-so-good labels.
Good beer, not-so-good labels.

On the whole, I’m not sure I’d seek out Peculiar Pub on my next visit to NYC but I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for the Flower Power IPA and other brews from Ithaca.

Got any other suggestions for my next trip to the east coast? Leave them in the comments.