Hop’in Around: Big Apple brews

By on March 7, 2018

Beer reviewer Michael Upton visited NYC on his most recent beer jaunt. In Midtown, he sampled Miles from Nowhere by LIC Beer Project. Miles From Nowhere is a big, double IPA dry hopped with Cashmere and Columbus hops. It is fruity and floral, but not over the top. (Photos by Michael Upton)

Whenever I visit a place I always make it a point to check out the beer scene. While New York, state and city, has a well-established brewing identity, I wanted to see how the craft was doing in a specific location I recently visited: Midtown.

Midtown is the heart of NYC. It is home to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building. I’ve never heard much about beer in this area, but that wasn’t going to stop me from looking.

I found Heartland Brewery and Chophouse within walking distance from the bright lights of Broadway. One of six flagship “classic” beers, Indiana Pale Ale is Heartland’s IPA offering and is a solid example of the style. It’s not too flashy, not over the top with hops, and had a beautiful aroma and color. Heartland’s beers are fresh, vibrant, and have made the perfect accompaniments to their awesome food menu since 1995. I recommend the Buffalo chicken spring rolls.

As we wandered around the city into Hell’s Kitchen we stumbled upon a watering hole with an awesome atmosphere and seats overlooking busy Eighth Avenue called the Beer Authority. No brainer, right? I later learned this place advertises a Trip Advisor delineation of “top 10 beer garden in NYC,” and while I didn’t get to the outside area on my rainy March visit, I had a problem with their beer selection. When an establishment boasts 90 taps and 100 bottles on its façade I would not expect to have to order three different beers before finding one that was in stock.

The first beer we tried to order was the Diaglyph IPA from Hudson Valley Brewery out of Beacon, New York. Unavailable, we moved onto Divided Sky IPA by Gun Hill Brewing Company in the Bronx. This, too, made the beer list but the keg was empty. The third time was the charm as we received a stellar selection from the LIC Beer Project (Long Island City, N.Y.), their Miles From Nowhere IPA.

I’d never heard of this brewery before, but I’m glad I got to check out their product. Miles From Nowhere is a big, double IPA dry hopped with Cashmere and Columbus hops. It is fruity and floral, but not over the top. It has a rich flavor underneath the hops and is an example of cultivated craft over style mimicry. If you see this somewhere, order it; you won’t be disappointed.

The great news for beer lovers visiting the Big Apple is that I found an easy selection of libations all along my trip. The Amtrak train we took from Lancaster to NYC had Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA and every little bodega we went into had some form of craft beer — from Samuel Adams to Coney Island Brewing Company — available in singles. Even our hotel coffee shop had a selection of domestic and import pounders.

If you really want to get the full NYC beer experience, plan your trip for the end of February and catch NYC Beer Week.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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