Yes, there are great beer bars Midtown Manhattan like Pony Bar, the Ginger Man and the Cannibal. But the strange pocket that is upper-middle-Chelsea-near-Penn Station, laden with overpriced Irish pubs, sub-par barbecue and the double-whammy of commuter and tourist crowds, is not exactly an area I recommend venturing to. That is, until now.
Haymaker Bar and Kitchen is a gastropub that recently opened on W 29th Street (by 8th Avenue). At first glance, it’s nothing out of the ordinary: hard wood floors; bar stools; booths; a few anybodies scattered at the bar (in other words, no identifiable hipsters or business men). Sleek, simple, and calm. But feast your eyes on the beer menu and that perception starts to change.
Tristan Colegrove, bar manager and fresh beer aficionado, excitedly curates a list of hard-to-find, hard-to-pass up American craft brews, with a focus on IPAs, dry-hopped sours and saisons—largely the fetishized, though not to a fault—the menu is varied and accessible (and the atmosphere unpretentious) enough to please any beer nerd and convince any newbie. Some approachable options geared toward normal people and happy hour include Southern Tier pilsner and Finback, but in general, Colegrove said, “I want to sell awesome beer. I want to sell the best beer ever.”
“I just bring in what I like,” said Colegrove, who has been bartending and managing bars like Berg’n for 15 years. “If it’s something I really like and think is great, I put it on.”
Some standouts on tap:
- Hill Farmstead Citra, a mild, earthy, citra-hopped pale ale
- Maine Another One, American IPA heavy on the hops and dry enough to leave you thirsty (for more)
- Barrier Money, a money IPA, especially since they rarely repeat brews
- Grimm Pulse Wave, a delicious double IPA from our favorite gypsies
- Mikkeller Hop on Drinkin’, delightful dry-hopped Berliner Weiss (2.8% ABV)
- Crooked Stave Progenitor, dry hopped sour golden ale, somehow balancing citrus, pine and sourness into a lip-pursing lusciousness
- Kent Falls Shower Beer, cleverly named, even more cleverly brewed gose with refreshing lime zest
- Millstone Rhuberry, a barrel fermented cider that drinks more like a gueze
- Prairie Bomb, oh my god, Prairie Bomb, the things you do to a stout should be illegal (chili peppers, chocolate, espresso beans, vanilla)
FYIs and ICYMIs:
- 18 beers on draught, 8 in bottles and cans
- Audience is mid-20s, mid-30s, MSG patrons
- Whalez, bro. Other Half is usually on tap—but it comes and goes quickly
- Fresh is best—order any IPA, because it’s probably only a few days old
- Expect to see a lot of Maine Beer Company (which comes in about every other week), Grimm’s latest releases (that happen about once a month) and in general, dry-hopped sours and fresh IPAs.
- You can keep up with what’s on tap on their website and Twitter
Though the location is less than ideal (for the lazy and snobby sect who don’t go above 14th Street, like myself), acknowledge the questionable crowd and relish in the fact that this bar is positioned to show non-beer geek people the places that beer can go.
Millstone Cellars Cider Tasting November 12
Kyle Sherrer, Millstone’s co-founder and resident cider maker, will be at Haymaker from 5:30-7:30 on Thursday, November 12th to showcase four ciders and answer any questions about producing some of the country’s finest, handmade and rustic ciders.
Millstone Cherry Kriek (8%): Fermented with two types of sour cherries
Millstone Farmgate (8%): Rustic house cider, touch of oak, vinegar notes
Millstone Bonfire Cyser (10%): Spicy, smoky, sour mead blend made with Fish Peppers
Millstone Gingeroot (7.5%) (Bottle Pour): Tart cider brewed with baby ginger and infused with raw blueberry honey