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Reviews on PubCrawler from dave witzel
Other Reviews by this User
December 22, 2014 @ 01:18 AM EDT
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Reviews By
dave witzel

Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Beer Reviews from dave witzel
Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! Good So So Great

Establishment: Hop Devil Grill, New York, NY

I fall somewhere in-between the extremes for the Hop Devil. There are a lot of rah-rah reviews written by drive-by reviewers for several bars in this town, Hop Devil included. It does begin to look suspicious, and I suspect the anonymous poster simply doesn't want to be harassed.

Anyhow. The beer selection at Hop Devil is excellent. With 30 lines devoted to a wide assortment of American craft beer and a few major imports in the main bar, including a cask, and a staggering display of Belgian beer in the Belgian Room, the selection can not be disputed. Sure you can get a Corona or a Heineken (in bottles), but you'll pay dearly for the "privilege".

I've yet to have an undrinkable beer in either section, though it does happen that a rather murky cask or keg makes it on occasionally.

The food is strictly there to slow down the progress of alcohol through your system. Nothing fancy. The beer, while obviously chosen with care, tends to be marked up with a strange randomness. Some bottles are the standard triple-wholesale or double-retail, while others are twice that and beyond.

Service is hit and miss. Some bartenders are very knowledgeable about what they're serving, while others know just the style, and still others really have no idea. I'd guess this has a lot to do with how long they've worked in beer. Don't expect a lot of buybacks, either.

In short, it's a great addition to the area, but has its flaws like every bar.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Great Awesome!

Establishment: Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY

Maybe it's you, Craig? It's not hard to get service if you walk from your wobbly table to the bar area.

By the way, it was Seriously Bad Elf, and it's an English strong ale, brewed in England.

The Blind Tiger boasts 24 taps and at least one cask on handpump every day, with a nice selection of bottles as well. Late in the evening, and on the weekend, the place is Metro hell, but during the week it's a must for any beer enthusiast. Most Wednesdays offer a blindlingly excellent event of some sort, with rare (to the area or to the world) and/or one-off beers and/or aged classics presented for the masses to imbibe. Heck, even Mondays are fun, with free Sabretts in the corner and a more easygoing crowd.

The current location will need to be renovated soon -- look at the ceiling sometime and you'll understand -- but its return is promised. We can't afford to lose such a classic beer bar, that's certain.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great N/A Great Great

Establishment: Collins Bar, New York, NY

Collins Bar is indeed affiliated with Blind Tiger, as are a few others in New York. A former manager at BT runs Collins, and of course he shares the original's love of good beer and a solid hard-alcohol menu.

The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable and the selection and prices are fine, making this an excellent choice for beer enthusiasts who find themselves in Times Square with time to kill (and locals too, of course).


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great Great Good Great

Establishment: Loreley Restaurant and Biergarten, New York, NY

Tucked onto Rivington, off the Bowery, Loreley offers much the same feel as Zum Schneider - while ZC is effectively an indoor biergarten, Loreley has a spacious tented outdoor area and a reasonably-sized indoor area.

During Oktoberfest, there were only a couple of Ofests on tap (Spaten and another) but they were tasty. Liters run $12-$14, half-liters half that - a little pricey, honestly, even for such great taps as Kostritzer and Jever. Always a couple of wheats and lighter pilsners such as Bitburger on tap, too.

The food is standard German fare (wursts, potatoes, schnitzel) and worth the cost. Good beer-drinking food.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Great Awesome!

Establishment: Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY

Wally has issues... Wally has issues.... It's not like gay people are out to get you, son!

Anyhow. With all the good beer being poured at the Blind Tiger, you're recommending something you can get at half the bars in town? For shame. Better to sample something you don't see every day. Granted, being from Mississippi you don't get such a wide range of beer choices, but really. Most of the taps rotate quickly, and the special events they hold on many Wednesdays are, well, incredible. They can bring in beers you just don't see on tap in NYC.

Any person seriously into beer, be they straight, gay, black, white, or green, owes it to themselves to stop by here when they're in the city. Quite possibly the best beer bar in Manhattan.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Good Good Great

Establishment: Wagner Vineyards and Brewing Company, Lodi, NY

Beautiful drive up the east side of Seneca lake to Wagner. The microbrewery makes a wide variety of beers, including the basic nondescript American wheat and lager. Better were a nicely hopped Czech-style pilsner, the ESB (Goldings, I believe) with a surprisingly full malty backbone, a nice wine-y Oatmeal stout, and an outstanding doppelbock (Sled Dog), which is year-round due to popular demand. Inexpensive to bring some home too.

Heard from the bar-tender that they'll have a Belgian tripel-style out this winter, hopefully, in 75cl corked bottles. Looking forward to a Christmas visit now!

Food at the little restaurant on the grounds was your standard inexpensive American fare. Nothing to write home about, but it hits the spot after an hour of smapling beer and wine. And of course the view can't be beat!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! Great Great Awesome!

Establishment: Wharf Rat At Camden Yards / Oliver Breweries, Baltimore, MD

Great English-style alehouse, and so close to Camden Yards! At least there's a reason to go to the Orioles games. At least fifteen beers were on, and it would have been nice to see glasses instead of plasticups on the patio, but it was such a nice day it didn't matter much. Everything from a dark mild to an old ale, all very well-made, all rather inexpensive. ESB on cask was outstanding. The food was solid pub food, good for soaking up many "pints" of Oliver's beer. A definite pre- or post-game stop without question.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A Great Great

Establishment: Brewer's Art, Baltimore, MD

Despite appearing to be the trendy place to drink in Baltimore, we had a great time sampling all Volker has to offer. The Cerberus tripel was outstanding craftsmanship -- hard to believe it's American. The single is a sadly underrepresented style on this shores, and the Resurrection dubbel was good (a bit drier than I'm used to with dubbels) -- not a bad beer on tap, and quite the affordable prices. Plus, all the attractive people milling about, some even drinking the beer! Great space they're located in, and the cavernous downstairs was packed solid last Saturday. Next Baltimore trip I'm certainly returning here.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great N/A Great Awesome!

Establishment: Baltimore Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

A nice walk from the Camden Yards area, but well worth the walk. I suppose you could drive, but then you can't drink so much. The beers were phenomenal -- an outstanding German-style lager brewery. The Marzen was superb, the Pilsner one of the best German pilsners I've come across. Wish we could have stayed longer, but it was a short weekend.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Great Awesome!

Establishment: Zum Schneider, New York, NY

A Saturday night may not be the best day for xenophobes, but it's worth braving Alphabet City to eat and drink here. Getting what appeared to be the last two seats in the place, the waitress knew the beers, didn't make fun of my mangled German, and did a fine job of paying attention to us even though she had about 60 people to take care of.

Food, standard German dishes of various sausages and other pork products, weinerschnitzel, sauerkraut, potato salad and spaetzle, was excellent though slow -- few people were actually eating besides us -- and the beer was in great shape. They go through tons of beer here. In addition to the several Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr taps, were Aktien Pils, St. Georgesbrau Kellerbier (rare here, and worth whatever they were charging), the ubiquitous-for-a-reason Jever, Spaten Optimator, and several wheat beers, from Weltenburger, Schnieder, and the like.

Crowd was friendly, skewed young, smoked a lot, and was loud, louder even than the bad non-German music blaring. And don't forget your cash. (Really, this review looks a lot like the previous one, looking back.)


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Great Great Good Good

Establishment: Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant, South Orange, NJ

Came to Gaslight yesterday for an early dinner. Between two of us we covered all the beers currently on. A few were good: the keg IPA was pleasant but not particularly highly-hopped; the witbier was very good, good use of a Belgian(-style?) yeast and coriander, quite refreshing; the Eliminator blonde doppel hid the alcohol micely behind a sweet, almost too-sweet honey base; and the stout was rich, wine-y, a touch sour but well-liked. However, the dunkelweiss was afflicted with a heavy sour off-flavor, as was the Bison Brown (which still managed to push through its hoppiness, making me think this was a really good American Brown when fresh), and the cask IPA lost a great deal of its hoppiness as compared to the keg IPA, to the point where it was nearly indistinguishable from the Vienna Lager (another beer which could serve as a good style example). Overall, 5-6 out of 8. Several guest brews were also available, like the Ramstein Blonde Wheat and one of the Lindeman's fruit lambics.

Food was delicious and not particularly pricey, but we stuck to basics like fish and chips and burgers.

I doubt that the sourness problem is truly chronic; as this is Memorial Day weekend, perhaps the beer just sat in the lines too long. I've been fortunate to sample the Gaslight beers before and have been impressed. Would enjoy coming back and sitting in the inviting bar area next time instead of the dim, soundproofed dining area in back.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A Awesome! Great

Establishment: Gate, Brooklyn, NY

A great place to go hang out and have a few pints of GoodBeer. Bartenders are smart and friendly, beer is reasonably priced for NYC and boasts an above-average selection, with Brooklyn of course being represented and plenty of other good micros available. No food, but there's a menu folder available (highly recommend the fish & chip shop a couple blocks away). Spare, dark space with some outdoor seating available IIRC. Even if they're not affiliated with Blind Tiger, the Gate's beer tastes line up favorably with them.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Good Great Good Great

Establishment: Hallo Berlin, New York, NY

Sure, the picnic table and patio umbrella decor belongs outside in a biergarten. But if you're looking for a way to enjoy good German beer with rather authentic German food, this place does a fine job.

They serve typically 4-6 beers at any given time, it seems -- the night I went they had a Spaten dunkles, Bitburger pils, another lager and I believe a wheat beer, in 0.5L and 1L mugs -- perfect for that German beer hall experience. The food is pretty basic, sausages and whatnot, but it's pretty cheap too, around $10-$11 a plate for a large amount of food.

If you're looking for a place to take a date before a show, this isn't that place. If you're looking to have a raucous good time with other goodbeer drinkers in an out of the way place, well, this is perfect.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Carnegie Hill Brewing Company, New York, NY

Carnegie Hill Brewing Co. is no more.

Ceased operations sometime in late February-early March, and has re-opened as Big City. They tore out the brewing tanks, and the best beer on tap now is Bass or Murphy's at $6/pint. Guess they didn't feel like making a go of it any more.

Should have seen the writing on the wall in mid-February, when the beers were uniformly in horrible condition. It's always sad to see brewpubs close up shop in the city -- down to just three names in Manhattan now.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great Great Great Great

Establishment: Bohemian Hall, Astoria, NY

Three blocks north of the Astoria Boulevard stop on the N (maybe it's 3 from Ditmars too), even in winter this is a fine, fine place to eat and drink in Astoria. Freshest Pilsner Urquell I've tasted, and the Jever, Staropramen, and Spaten didn't suck either. Big cheap ($7!) plates of pork or sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes really hits the spot while you're drinking. Will need to go back when it's warm enough for the beer garden to open again, just to fully appreciate this place.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Great Great Great Great

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, West Chester, PA

Stopped by on a visit this past weekend. I wasn't feeling like trying a pile of samplers, so instead went for the Holiday Ale, an Imperial IPA. Tell me, who else is doing a strong (7.3%) IPA in the Northeast? Very hoppy beer, stridently malty with the alcohol well-hidden behind the toffeeish malty flavors. A dangerous beer, this one. The Old Ale on handpump was a little disappointing. They ran out on my pint, and it did seem to lack body and flavor, especially considering it should be rather hoppy and full. The food at our table was all quite good, and the service was excellent. Worth a trip back if only to see what new beers are on tap. I understand they have recently changed (or soon will be changing) brewers, and so more data points are in order.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Selin's Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA

Made a special side trip post-Thanksgiving on my way back home. Located on the ground floor of a historic building in the middle of this small town -- very small-town feel to the place. The kind of bar where everyone seemed to be a regular, and why not?

Food consists of salads and sandwiches mostly, very good prices; the pretzel bun was a plus. Service was great, too, even though the waitress seemed to be tending all 12-15 tables alone plus helping behind the bar.

But of course I was there for the beer. 8-10 beers on tap plus two beer engines, which were occupied by their 1999 and 2000 St. Fillian's barleywines. Outstanding lineup -- wish I could have tried the Triple but it had already run out, but the Pilsner, IPA, White Horse Porter, Oatmeal Stout, and Scottish Ale were all very good to outstanding. Add to that the two barleywines -- the 1999 was showing its age, but the 2000 was dead perfect -- and it made a wonderful, and inexpensive, evening. Thanks to all those who judged this place before me!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Strange Brew Tavern, Manchester, NH

If you're downtown, this is by far your best bet for local microbrews. Looks like a biker bar from the outside (in a part of town that is absolutely empty at night), but it's more a young college crowd. Music nearly every night.

But the beer's the thing. Twenty-some taps filled with New Hampshire and Maine taps: Harpoon, Smuttynose, Shipyard, Castle Springs, and so forth. Well-kept beer and a crowd that seems to appreciate better beer keep the stock rotating. Thr decent food menu can really ring up a good tab for the expense account. Within a couple of blocks of the civic center and the Holiday Inn, so you don't have to drive, too!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good Awesome! Awesome! Great

Establishment: Nutfield Ale and Steak House, Manchester, NH

They don't specifically brew the beer at the steakhouse, which is located within a Sheraton. But it is the restaurant arm of the Nutfield brewery in Derry, and it serves only its own beers.

Service is exceptional. The waitresses are all friendly, the steaks are outstanding, and the beers, while a short list on any given day (4 year round + a seasonal), are all well-crafted and flavorful. Certainly worth a trip if you're in New Hampshire


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