Beer Friends here giving our brief recap of a night to be remembered at our favorite watering hole, The Pony Bar. Located in Hells Kitchen on 10th Ave and 45th Street, this craft beer bar has made quite the splash in the first year they've been open. Besides getting great reviews in Time Out New York and Yelp, The Pony Bar has become one of local legend with it's All American Club. Drink your way through 100 beers, write them down including Beer, Brewery, date and your own personal rating and receive a awesome Dickies short sleeve button up brewmaster shirt - but wait! There's more! Last night the Pony Bar was closed for a private party from 3-7p as Dan the manager and the awesome bartenders and barhops treated All American club members to 20 new pours plus sliders and wings. Of course the Beer Friends made a trip - three of us being members in this exclusive club (we like to drink with a purpose) and here's what our night consisted of:
Round One: Started with Sixpoint Autobahn IPA, which is part of the one barrel series. Again Sixpoint continues to impress. Not overly spicy like some IPA's seem to be, this pour was very smooth and a great way to start the night.
Round Two: Sierra Nevada Fritz and Ken 30th Anniversary - this made it into my elite club. Only the best of the best beers (Sixpoint Gorilla Warfare, Left Hand Milk Stout, Magic Hat Howl - notice a theme?) get ranked above a 9 on my card, and slide over because Fritz and Ken are in. This fantastic coffee Stout is part of the 30th Anniversary series and is well worth the hunt if you can find it!
Round Three: This was a very special pour - Allagash Triple from a bottle that Dan poured for everyone. This was a great pour... reminded me a lot of the Allagash White, in that traditional Belgian style.
Round Four: Smuttynose Oak aged Imperial Stout - this was another great pour. Although it's getting warmer outside, I'm really continuing to enjoy these porters and stout tossed at me. The Smuttynose Oak Aged was aged in apple brandy barrels which gave it more of a alcohol taste mixed with a hint of chocolate made it delicious. A perfect beet to call it a night with.
Round 1 – Boulder Never Summer Ale – Is technically a winter warmer, but this beer was incredibly refreshing on a warm spring day. It was heavier than it’s light tan color would suggest. It had just enough spice to it to make this memorable. This is a good three season beer, the only time I wouldn’t reach for this would be on a sweltering summer day. A cool summer day would be different story…
Round 2 – Sixpoint Autobahn IPA – This was a nice treat to find here. Being a limited brew from Sixpoint, I was excited to try it. Sixpoint being known around the beer friends for Bengali Tiger, this was a nice change of pace from them. It’s a nice crisp and refreshing IPA that I enjoyed a lot. If I’m going to seek out an IPA I may look toward something with a little more kick, but I would definitely suggest this to someone who claims not to like IPAs.
Round 3 – Dogfish Head Immort Ale – This was a very sweet and smoky beer. Given that it was peat smoked barley and maple syrup as ingredients that makes a lot of sense. I enjoyed this one a lot, I got a small glass because the ABV was 11% but that didn’t affect how the beer went down. Very smooth with a lot of flavor. I’d definitely buy a 4-pack of this to try again at home.
Round 4 – Firestone Walker Union Jack – Was prepared to be blown away by this because of some hype I had heard, but as a big IPA drinker I was slightly disappointed. It was a strong IPA, but again it’s probably not something I would seek out. I may have to give this one another chance on a less overwhelming evening.
Round 5 – Schlafly Imperial Stout – Yet another Bourbon barrel aged beer that I have come across this year. This style being very popular through the beginning of this year this is the first Imperial Stout I’ve had that’s like this. It’s fun to see how all the different styles take the barrel aging. This beverage was very boozy. It was very tasty with the bourbon giving it a sweet sting, but as it rolled over it tasted more like a mixed drink than a beer.
Round 6 – Dogfish Head Red & White - I was eyeballing this one all night. I had read a bunch about this beer on some of the blogs so I was excited to give it a try. I found this brew to be very tasty. It was sweet, from the wit beer side, and dry, from the wine side. Normally I’m turned off by the American style wheat beers that are brewed with citrus peels, but it’s not overpowering in this pour. I’m not a big fan of the sweet wheat beers but the other flavors are a great compliment and make this very enjoyable.
First Brew - I also started the night with Sixpoint Autobahn IPA. Man, Sixpoint knows how to brew a tasty beer, especially in the IPA region. The Autobahn had a strong bitter start to it that finished with a malty sweetness. Sixpoint hasn't outdone the Bengali Tiger yet, but they sure come close with this one.
Second Brew - For my second round I went a little haywire with the Empire Deep Purple. This beer is most definitely...PURPLE! It is brewed with a whole bunch of Concorde Grapes which are famously used in the health/healing juice of the same name and it tasted like it. The Pony was pouring everything in 14 oz. glasses (instead of the usual high alcohol/super special beers being in 8 oz. pours) and it was hard to put down the whole thing. I would've rather had an 8 oz. of the Deep Purple, but it was a new experience that I won't soon forget...
Third Brew - Ithaca Alphalpha. Don't make the mistake I did and order this one by the name Alpha Alpha because it is definitely made with alfalfa! A lighter in color, medium in body spring beer base made with real alfalfa and honey with a beautifully delicious contribution of hops to it gives this beer a spicy belgian mead type of taste. I thoroughly enjoyed the Alphalpha experience.
Fourth Brew - Dogfish Head Red and White. A little on the Belgian side, this brew went down smooth but with a unique yeast taste to it in the Dogfish Head style of individuality. I wish I had more to say about this one but...what the hell I was four beers in at this point!
Fifth (And LAST but definitely not LEAST) Brew - The Schlafly Imperial Stout. Everyone stop what you are currently doing, stand up and start clapping. Slow clap is encouraged. This beer took the cake for me last night. An imperial stout aged in Jim Beam barrels that leaves you with one sentiment: Wow. Strong coffee flavors that any Yankee stout drinker would appreciate and caramelly bourbon flavors straight from Jim Beam that any true Southern Gentleman would enthusiastically applaud while shooting off his shotgun in celebration! This beer could truly have solved the Civil War had it been around at the time. We all would've made peace and reconciliation and agreed that all men and women should be free to pursue the liberty and happiness of consuming such a fine beverage. I'm still clapping about it this morning, so should you. Standing ovation for the Schlafly Imperial Stout. Bravo.
Thanks Pony Bar for the great time! See you next year! (Or today after work...)