Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Friday, January 24, 2014

Foley's Celebrates Its 10th With Heart

Foley's Pub on 33rd in NYC--aka The Mini Baseball Hall of Fame--celebrated its tenth year in business by raising money for a little girl who was diagnosed with multiple tumors on her brain and spine. Shaun Clancy decided that all of the tips at the bar and a portion of Foley's proceeds on the night of January 23 would go to little Sophia Rivera's cause. Read more about her struggle here.

Even on "ordinary" days, Foley's seems to attract the glitterati, especially those from the sports world, but on this night, patrons who packed the place were treated to a few rare sights.

Shaun Clancy himself was tending bar for the first hour, along with his son Ryan. That's an event that happens about as frequently as Congress actually doing something constructive.

The PubScout, Demian Knott and John Mooney
But to the delight of many, famed Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creature Bald Vinny and friends took over the tap duties.
Foley's, a bitter cold two-block walk from Penn Station on this night, is known for its warm, friendly atmosphere, but it is becoming known increasingly for the quantity and quality of its beer lists, both bottled and on draft. That combination--and the cause-- made the Arctic Walk worth it.

Rob, L. and Kaz, R.
Up-and-coming film makers Kaz and Rob (and I ) enjoyed the delights from Foley's kitchen (served by some of the friendliest waitresses you can find) as well as what we sampled from the growing beer list. Twenty-eight taps and 117 bottles means that you can always find something you like, as well as something new to try.

That "Try Me" category was filled by a "beer" called Elements/Plasma, a hybrid made with sake and IPA. Clear, golden and very tasty, the IPA part was  somewhat more pronounced on this palate than the sake part, but everyone at the table enjoyed it. Most interesting to be sure, but it comes in a big bottle with a big price tag, too, so ask before you order.

The night being bitter, The PubScout was in a malty mood, so Left Hand Nitro Stout was followed by the Dirty Bastard and then Three Philosophers. Kaz had Abita Turbo Dog, the Plasma and Abita's AndyGator, a Helles Doppelbock, while Rob enjoyed a Leffe Blond, a Troeg's Perpetual IPA, the Plasma and Breckinridge Vanilla Porter.

Demian Knott, the bar manager, is on a mission to put Foley's on the Craft Beer Radar Screen, and considering the list he's compiled, that mission should be accomplished soon. Be on the lookout for a possible short video highlighting both that beer list and this iconic pub.

While you're waiting, amble over to Foley's ( a picture of which is in the dictionary next to the term "Sports Bar") and enjoy the ambience of a classic NYC pub which is well on its way to being a worthy player in the craft beer arena.

More pics here...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Is This Why Chaucer Really Went to Canterbury?

Saints be praised! The very first Trappist brewery outside Europe is  making its own beer right in nearby Massachusetts. Check out this excellent blog post by Katherine Perry.

And then check out St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, MA. Being partial to Gregorian chants as a young (and admittedly disturbed) child, I found this to be fascinating. Wait until the chants start for a real treat.

But while chants are cool, beer is cooler, especially when it's Trappist made and sanctioned.

Looks like I, as a modern-day Geoffrey Chaucer, may soon have to lead a band of pilgrims to the monastery at Spencer. If past is Prologue, Aprille would be a good to join me?

Whan that Aprille withe its shoures soote, 
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How Bikers Deal with the Polar Vortex

Even under the best of conditions, January is not considered great riding weather as far as most bikers are concerned. So when the Polar Vortex arrives with temps in the single digits, what's a dedicated biker to do?

Drink good beer and eat good food in a good pub with good people, that's what.

So it was that on the coldest day and night in many a January, sixteen hardy folks assembled at the Harvest Moon brewpub in New Brunswick for a special beer tasting.

Ben Pollak
The event was arranged by the peripatetic Ben Pollak, who will be the subject of an upcoming story in the March issue of the new NJ Brew Magazine which will be written by yours truly. And without giving away the content of that fascinating story, suffice it to say that Ben Pollak lives a most unique life. That he rides his own motorcycle year-round should tell you something of his nature, though even he opted for four wheels on this bitterly frigid day. So he's not totally nuts.

Because of a special working arrangement he has with The Moon (pick up the March NJ Brew for the details), he was able to secure the cavernous upstairs space for a special beer-tasting along with food for sixteen of his biker buddies. And for the rather remarkable sum of $12, those buddies sampled six beers and ate their fill of some excellent food, including an incredible pizza that is not on the regular menu.

The Harvest Moon beers were especially well received also. The Moonlight Kolsch, with its distinctive nose, crisp mouthfeel and lingering finish began the flight, and it was followed by a very nice Harvest Hefeweizen. The classic Jimmy D's Firehouse Red came next (Google Jimmy D'heron for the background on that story if you need to) and an exceptional, malty Downtown Brown followed it. Full Moon Pale Ale, which this writer considered outstanding was the penultimate beer, and the  BBON (Best Beer of the Night) in The PubScout's opinion was the Black Friday Imperial Stout.

Heather and Lou lend new meaning
to the term "Malt Shop."
Rich with coffee and chocolate tones and with a semi-viscous mouthfeel, this was the perfect beer for cockle-warming.  There was even a version going around that had a dollop of vanilla ice cream in it.

And on this night everyone's cockles needed some warming.

But that was also achieved by the excellent company interacting over good beer and good food in good pub.

Just like the title of this blog says.

Judging by Ann's smile, her cockles were toasty indeed.

Ann had a great time!