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Pubs we love: Beer-centric bowling alleys

The Painted Pin

The Painted Pin

Unconventional new bowling spots earn high scores for their beer game.

ATLANTA // The Painted Pin

It may be brand-new, but Atlanta’s 20-lane Painted Pin takes its cues from an exclusive Old World gentlemen’s club: Think red velvet curtains and leather Chesterfields, mock-classical statuaries and lane-side shoe delivery. BEER FRAME: For a brew that complements the rarefied atmosphere, try homegrown Orpheus Brewing’s Atalanta, a plum-spiked sour named for a mythical Greek huntress. STRIKING FACT: A semi-private eight-lane event space, available for weeknight parties, is fitted with self-service beer taps, allowing you to play bartender without neglecting your game.

MINNEAPOLIS // Town Hall Lanes

Local craft suds vet Town Hall Brewing bought the former Skyway Bowl in Minny’s Nokomis neighborhood; one serious overhaul later, the space features 10 lanes presided over by exposed beams and retro beer signs, plus a restaurant serving up Midwest-inflected pub grub. BEER FRAME: More than 20 taps showcase Town Hall’s finest and a few guest brews; go for the house standby Masala Mama, an easy-drinking IPA with understated grapefruit notes. STRIKING FACT: While the hourly pricing structure at some upscale bowling venues can translate to a spendy night out, Town Hall Lanes charges each bowler a budget-friendly $4.25 per game.

LONGMONT, COLO. // Oskar Blues Brewery

As if a buzzing taproom and free tours weren’t enough of a draw, visits to Oskar Blues’ Longmont brewery are about to get even more entertaining. A major expansion of the space, slated to finish before the year’s up, includes six Brunswick bowling lanes. BEER FRAME: The bowling area’s beer list will mix standards like Dale’s Pale Ale with seasonals and brewery-only specialties—and because it’s Oskar Blues, they’ll come in cans. STRIKING FACT: Throwing turkeys can work up an appetite; luckily, the revamped brewery will also feature a wood-fired pizza oven.

CHICAGO // Seven Ten Lounge

While Seven Ten originally opened in 1995, it was reconfigured in 2012 when its owner’s new venture, Atlas Brewing, set up shop next door. Now it comprises an eight-lane alley with an Art Deco vibe and a beer list that favors its neighbor. BEER FRAME: Toast one of the Windy City’s most venerable architects with a pint of Atlas’ Burnham Brown, a roasty ale with a pop of spicy rye. STRIKING FACT: Shared ownership means Atlas events often feature lane time at Seven Ten; recent bashes have included the campy Prehistoric Beer Prom, held during Craft Beer Week.

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Beertown, U.S.A.: Manhattan, NY

Upright Brew House

Upright Brew House

Start spreading the brews: Cosmopolitan Manhattan, mostly known for its Cosmopolitans and Manhattans, is getting beerier by the New York minute. Rents are (of course) astronomical, so most NYC-area breweries opt for space in other boroughs (think: Brooklyn and Queens), but that hasn’t stopped a handful of new breweries from opening—with at least six more on the horizon. (Adds Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association, “I’m sure there are many more in planning that we don’t know about yet.”) The city’s not just making beer; it’s embracing it:?A new crop of hallway-sized bottle shops, beer bars and beer-minded restaurants means from the Upper East to the Lower West, hipsters and hedge fund managers alike have good brew within walking distance.

Alphabet City Beer Co.
The growlers-to-go are great, but the massive communal table and deep leather couches beg you to stay at this half-shop, half-bar in its namesake neighborhood. The offerings are always local-heavy and wonderfully affordable—like the $7 pint of Finback Pumpkin IPA, straight outta Queens.

Blind Tiger Ale House
The beer board at this West Village’s veteran beer pub constantly rotates familiar and rare pours on 28 drafts, two hand pumps and one gravity tap. The annual VSK (Very Special Keg) Festival in November corrals the most sought-after labels on the planet, like?Cantillon and Firestone Walker Parabola.

Paulaner Bräuhaus & Restaurant
This warm, wood-clad beer hall on the Lower East Side transports you straight to Germany via big brew vats, biergarten tables and suds straight from the tanks, unfiltered and unpasteurized. All the brews adhere to German purity regulations, and the food benefits: Order the outstanding pork knuckle braised in lager and red wine.

The Pony Bar
Beer-barrel tables at both the Hell’s Kitchen and Upper East Side locations make this place rustic; the electronic screens, with scrolling neon lists of coast-to-coast craft like Hopalotamus Double IPA from Jersey and Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout from Cali, keep it on the cutting edge. You can sample before buying, and each new keg is announced with a giant boxing bell.

The Cannibal

The Cannibal

Cannibal Beer & Butcher
Think bikes, beer and beef: This Midtown home of the artisan and the artistic sells cycling gear, nose-to-tail cuts of meat and brews sourced by an in-house beer sommelier. Take a steak and six-pack to go, or stay: There’s a butcher counter and bar slicing up charcuterie and pig heads, and a back garden perfect for an Ayinger Jahrhundert chased by a shot of Diplomatico rum.

Upright Brew House
Duck into this narrow, exposed-brick West Village bar for morning lattes and drip coffee; come afternoon, get your beer buzz courtesy of 12 taps and nearly 100 cans and bottles—all craft. Watch for pours from New Yorkers Keegan Ales and Other Half Brewery, and fill up with the fully loaded burger; it’s one of the best in town.

Jimmy’s No. 43
Cozy and convivial, this East Village beer joint’s legendary for atmosphere, with low, brick ceilings that date to the 1880s and catacomb-style rooms, for sipping dark German traditionals, brand-new brews from upstate’s Rushing Duck, and ciders from Spain, France and Vermont. Go hungry: The menu of elevated comfort classics spans buttermilk biscuits to bread pudding.

The Ginger Man
A veritable clubhouse for beer geeks local and passing through, Ginger Man in Midtown is a textbook tavern (think beer posters and high-backed wooden booths), but with better beer. Seventy taps, nearly 200 bottles and two casks pour the globe’s finest; grab a Wandering Star Catcher in the Rye to wash down the famous half-pound Pastrami Reuben, laden with whiskey barrel sauerkraut.

Heartland Brewery
Take in the view at the top of the Empire State Building, then soak up the beer at this 450-seat brewery-restaurant on the ground floor (one of five NYC locations). Feast on steak and bison burgers, and sample the Brooklyn-made brews; watch for Not Tonight Honey Porter, brewmaster Kelly Taylor’s homebrew recipe that’s just been upgraded to the brewhouse.

Ten stools, a plastic-letter menu board for hipster style and framed postcards round out an East Village scene where Leelanau’s Petoskey Pale Ale, a French oak aged grand cru from Michigan, might appear next to Belgian-style fruit ale from Grimm Artisanal Ales out of Brooklyn.

Top Hops Beer Shop

Top Hops Beer Shop

Brand-new to the East Village, this industrial-styled spot is the baby of a team of beverage experts that includes Greg Boehm, who runs the barware site Cocktail Kingdom, and Erick Castro, the mixologist behind San Diego’s Polite Provisions. The menu centers on reimagined Boilermaker shot-and-beer combos like the Dark & Bitter—that’s a Victory Storm King Stout and a shot of Ramazotti Amaro liqueur. Twelve rotating draft beers, four tap cocktails and two punches by the pitcher round off the menu.

508 Gastrobrewery
Quirky collaborations abound at this trendy, sleek Greenwich Village spot. Brewer Chris Cuzme once made a Coffee & Donut Stout (a Brooklyn Brew Shop collab) with Brooklyn Roasting Co. beans and dried coconut flakes; another time, he put toasted buns in the mash and a smoked cheeseburger into the malt to make his applewood-smoked amber ale Bacon Cheesebrüger. Go Mondays for the pairing special: three drafts and three appetizers for $39.

Top Hops Beer Shop
This narrow, whitewashed brick-clad, Lower East Side bar’s humming beer fridges and more than 700 bottles lining shelves to the ceiling solidify this spot as beer-forward. The linchpin, though, is Top Hops’ staff; it’s smart and willing to share, hosting beer classes and tasting events throughout the year.

High above Eataly, Mario Batali’s seven-restaurant Italian food megaplex, is this rooftop cask-ale brewery from beer’s most famous fratelli: Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), Teo Musso (Baladin) and Leonardo Di Vincenzo (Birra Del Borgo). A thyme pale ale, a peppercorn wit and an IPA actually made with pasta are brewed on site, though the bottle list beckons with Dogfish gems and Italian rarities from Toccalmatto, Montegioco and beyond. A short but meaty food menu keeps your focus tuned to the brew.

CHEESE, PLEASE!: Even highfalutin New Yorkers appreciate the delicious dynamic of beer and cheese. The original Murray’s Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village has been slicing exotic cheese since 1940; tour the subterranean cheese “caves” and take a beer-pairing class, or kick back at its Cheese Bar with nibbles and craft pints. Up in East Harlem, Earl’s Beer & Cheese, a tiny, tin-tiled tavern, shills only draft craft and sinful iterations of cheese—think sliced, grilled and macaroni’ed. On the Lower East Side, the little brick Malt and Mold’s walls are lined with bottles, while the taps (and growlers) give you another reason to grab ’n’ go. Here’s a reason to stay: Free beer and cheese tastings on Thursdays.

BEFORE?YOU?POUR: Read the latest posts on, a blog penned by local homebrewer Chris O’Leary. In addition to his veritable library of every brew made in the five boroughs, O’Leary’s known to break news on everything from new brewery openings to early releases to the city’s coolest beer events.

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Spices by volume

spiceStarbucks isn’t the only beverage company putting seasonal spins on standard drinks: Brewers have been spicing up winter ales for ages, and the results are arguably better than kicked-up lattes. The best part: They’re not all one-note beers with generic spice profiles; some brewers shove particular spices into the spotlight. Sip beers that give your favorite holiday spice top billing; we’ve got options for drinkers who like their spice quiet or loud.


Toned down: Perched on pastrylike malt, the spice in Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale is fresh and floral yet restrained; rice in the brew lends authentic creaminess.

Turned up: Boozy and spiritlike, Terrapin Imperial Pumpkin Pie Porter marries massive cinnamon with alcohol spice; pumpkin shows up at the end to soften the swallow.


Toned down: Perky and bubbly Penn Ginger Beer has a healthy ginger pop and a barely-there pepper bite; an easygoing, 4.8%-ABV swallow keeps the sting in check.

Turned up: Hand-cut fresh ginger gives Crabtree Ginger Bee some serious zing; 60 pounds of Colorado honey in each batch tempers the bright spice with dry sweetness.


Toned down: Whole star anise just barely squeezes through the vanilla and biscuity malts in Lift Bridge Biscotti; Belgian yeast takes the sweetness to cookie-level.

Turned up: Elysian and 21st Amendment joined forces to brew He Said, a pumpkin-caraway porter punctuated by earthy, dry, licorice-like anise and a sneaky 8.2% ABV.


Toned down: Replace your a.m. chai latte with Rogness Yogi, a 5.2%-ABV chai-spiced session amber. Clove muscles through to tint each swallow with floral spice.

Turned up: Earthy, practically peppery clove shouts above cocoa roast and a tickle of alcohol in the otherwise mellow Southern Tier Warlock pumpkin stout.

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Beer mile championship makes history

Cory Gallagher celebrates his victory. Photo via Flotrack.

Cory Gallagher celebrates his victory. Photo via Flotrack.

This week, I watched beer mile history streaming in real time on my iPhone.

Olympians competed in the 4-laps, 4-beer race and records were broken at Flotrack’s inaugural Beer Mile Championship in Austin.

Elizabeth Herndon won the women’s elite race with a time of 6:17.76, breaking the world record by nearly 11 seconds. Canadian Corey Gallagher won the men’s race with a personal best of 5:00.23, missing the world record by 2 seconds.

The elite field included Olympic athlete Nick Symmonds, previous women’s world record holder Chris Kimbrough and Team USA mid-distance runner Katie Mackey, among others.

The event also featured a specialty Beer Mile Brew, courtesy of Austin brewery Hops & Grain.

As I’ve written before, the beer mile has officially entered the popular lexicon, gaining major coverage from the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Now it has taken the next step in its evolution from underground antics to mainstream sport.

With the championship, spectators could watch live — complete with announcer commentary — as elite-level athletes competed in front of a crowd for bragging rights and a cash payday.

The livestream was made possible by Flocasts, which focuses on “untapped sports markets historically neglected by traditional media,” including running, wresting and gymnastics.

It seemed to work. I followed the #beermile hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and saw spectators posting pictures of the beer they were drinking in front of their laptops, with the races unfolding in real time.

“Flocasts is about elevating our sports by creating celebrities and Super Bowls in their own right,” said Mark Floreani, co-founder of Flocasts.

And the beer mile just found its Super Bowl moment.

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Best breakfasts: 3 airports with killer a.m. eats

The Bacon Mollete at Tortas Frontera

The Bacon Mollete at Tortas Frontera

Best case scenario:?You breeze through security with time to spare. More likely: Snow and sleet leave you stranded. Don’t waste time screaming at a gate agent; instead, enjoy the most important meal of the day at these better-than-fast-food airport outposts.

Chicago O’Hare / Tortas Frontera
Terminals 1, 3 and 5 sell breakfast sandwiches the Rick Bayless way—that is, locally driven, authentically Mexican and in the vein of his iconic downtown Frontera Grill. The airport offshoot puts out a.m. tortas (griddle-baked sandwiches on bolillo or telera bread) and molletes (open-faced versions) that show off the chef’s geniously unfussy flavor compositions: There’s a hearty egg-chorizo torta, and molletes wearing fig spread atop smoked pork, or pecans and peanut butter over caramelized plantains. A yogurt bar puts flavor combos in your hands: Choose plain or Greek yogurt, honey or cajeta caramel, house granola or compote—or pile on the whole enchilada.

Newark Liberty International / Garden State Diner
This Jersey-style diner serves up hearty bites and a healthy dose of kitsch, like the classic car balanced above the entrance. The menu’s got a dozen-plus omelets and playful faves like Pancakes Elvis (peanut butter and banana, naturally). For genuine N.J. flavor, go for Frankie’s Eggs Benedict: two eggs, poached to wobbly perfection over a slab of grilled Taylor ham—a processed cross between Canadian bacon and fried bologna—on a toasty, open-faced English muffin, smothered in creamy hollandaise. Wash it down with a shake like the Orange Creamsicle: vanilla ice cream and orange juice whipped into creamy harmony. Need a different kind of pick-me-up? The full bar opens at 9 a.m.

Phoenix Sky Harbor / Barrio Café Por Avion
If you didn’t make it to the real Barrio Café, a Phoenix institution run by twice-James-Beard-nominated chef Silvana Salcida Esparza, you can still taste Southwest sabor at its colorful Terminal 4 outpost. You’ll avoid all airport blasé with massively portioned spicy egg dishes, like a simple sammy with huevos done up your way and topped with cheese, chorizo and salsa. Or, opt for the sombrero-sized Arizona Burrito brimming with sweet ’n’ spicy green chile pork and gooey cheese crowned with a pair of fried eggs. Sip French-pressed coffee, or opt for a kicky Michelada made with a Mexican brew. Missed breakfast? Try any dish with the famous Cochinita Pibil.

BEFORE YOU BOARD: …get one last sip at these airport spinoffs of beloved breweries:?1. Stone Brewing, San Diego International // 2. New Belgium Hub, Denver International // 3. Bell’s Brewery, Gerald R. Ford International (Grand Rapids, Mich.) // 4. Cigar City Brewing, Tampa International // 5. Laurelwood Brewing, Portland International

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