My friends, Jimmy and Dee joined me for a tasting at Haymaker Bar & Kitchen in Manhattan Wednesday evening.
“These aren’t your typical winter warmers,” Tristan Colegrove, bar manager and resident beer geek at Manhattan’s Haymaker Bar & Kitchen, told me as he placed a neat row of six Christmas beers on the bar in front of me. As is proven par the course at Haymaker since its inception in October, the beer bar and gastropub is doing the “seasonal” thing a little differently.
December is winding down its final days, but Colegrove is ramping up his repertoire by including more impressive beers on the sophisticated list than ever before.
Yes, he has De Dolle Stille Nacht, the slightly sweet, boozy Belgian Strong Pale Ale that beer bars clamor to have on tap each holiday season—but then, so do Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village and Brouwerij Lane in Greenpoint.
True, he’s managed to get his hands on two rival brothers’ very different takes on winter ale: Mikkeller Winbic, a blended Spontan Ale and saison from Denmark that you won’t find anywhere else in the city (imported by the Shelton Brothers) and Brooklyn-based Evil Twin‘s Xmas Eve in a NYC Hotel Room, an imperial stout that’s oily, delightfully dry and delicious without being aggressively spiced—but the latter can be found all over Brooklyn.
What really stumped me on the menu — even among such stuff that beverage managers’ and drinkers’ dreams are made of (Prairie Christmas Bomb! Chesterfield Dreams by Other Half and Garage Brewery in Barcelona!) — was La Vermontoise. Continue reading
Tristan Colegrove, bar manager and David Smith, owner (Jeff Anzulewicz, partner, not pictured) at Haymaker
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.” Continue reading