The Manhattan Beer Scene (Part 2)

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Within an hour of landing in Gotham last month, I set out to find one of the top 3 craft beer bars in Manhattan. The Ginger Man (which I wrote about here) was up first due to its proximity to my hotel and my definite need for a drink, but after my 90 minutes of reconnaissance there, I set out for Rattle ‘N Hum on E. 33rd between 5th and Madison.

Aside from a great beer lineup, Rattle ‘N Hum shares nothing in common with the aforementioned Ginger Man. I will go so far as to say that Rattle ‘N Hum, despite it’s shorter list (not by much) of available beers, has far more American craft beers on tap, which I prefer over a larger selection of imports. They must have a large warehouse as their cooler, because they also tend to swap out a lot of beers on a regular basis, which could be due, at least in part, to their massive popularity.

Like many restaurants in Manhattan, RnH was deep and narrow, with a very long bar spanning about 3/4 of the length of the pub. On the night I arrived, every bar stool (roughly 20) was occupied, so I saddled up to a chair at a table in back.

Although this was far from the typical sports bar we are accustomed to here with BDubs, Between the Buns, and others, there were a few reasonable sized TVs turned to the Giants and Jets games. The patrons were also a bit different in style from those at The Ginger Man (and Blind Tiger in the Village, as you will soon learn), cheering for their teams with their favorite NY football team jersey on. The walls were adorned with beer paraphernalia and dozens of tap handles hanging from the ceiling. The atmosphere was similar to how TGI Fridays used to be, but with beer schwag instead of random rubbish.

So back to the beer… the first night I visited included a huge lineup of beer from Sixpoint, a popular Brooklyn based brewery. Fellow beer geek, Dave, had been drueling over one of their IPAs, Bangali Tiger. Although I’m always happy to try something new, Bengali Tiger was a bit on the bland side, with a sweet malt focal point. Not a bad beer, but far from the west coast hop bombs I’ve grown to love.

With a manageable buzz and no reason to drive, I settled up my tab and set out to explore the city, but I definitely planned to come back another night.

Later in the week, after my work obligations were done for the day, I decided to grab dinner at Rattle ‘N Hum again. This time I found a spot at the bar, next to a noticeably over-indulged and festively robust New Yorker. Nothing smooths the edges of a long day like a hoppy brew, so I went with a steady stream of Bear Republic (California) Racer 5 IPAs . This particular IPA was certainly an improvement over Bengali Tiger from earlier in the week, with a great medium bodied hop explosion. Racer 5 hit the spot as an appetizer, counterpart to the spicy chicken sliders (very good btw) I had for dinner, and as a refreshing dessert. Even though this is available at times throughout Michigan, I’ve yet to have this on tap until my visit to RnH.

If there was a place like this around the South Bend area, it would probably be my new favorite place to hang out. It’s obvious they take craft beer as serious as anyone, probably more so, without having a pretentious atmosphere. What’s even more amazing is that people are able to watch football, soccer, whatever, while drinking a pint of great beer, instead of mugs filled with fizzy yellow swill. If you ever find yourself thirsty in NYC, make sure to stop by!

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