Personal whale: slain OR How I learned to love the overpriced NYC beer scene


I jetted into LaGuardia for a short New York visit last Thursday morning and started making my way over to my friend’s place in Hoboken to kick off his 30th birthday celebration. He informed me earlier that he wouldn’t be available until early afternoon, so I took the opportunity to check out some sights, grab a bite, and browse the craft and imported beers available in the Big Apple. I had been to New York before, but I had never seen Grand Central Terminal, and there was apparently a beer boutique in the concourse run by the folks at Beer Table, a specialty beer market in Brooklyn. Given that I was also feeling pangs of hunger, I figured I’d kill three birds with one stone.

I arrived at Grand Central station and spent some time admiring the Beaux-Arts architecture of the building amidst the whirl of departing and arriving passengers. I found the Beer Table Pantry in the Graybar Passage among the other wine and specialty food shops that appeal to the tourist, commuter, and Midtown crowd. The place is tiny, only a little bigger than an average newsstand. The bottles are presented in a very clean, neat setting. They had a nice cross section of American specialty craft and some of the better Belgian and Scandanvian imports such as Mikkeller. Some standouts were Boogoop, the Three Floyds/Mikkeller collaboration, Founder Curmudgeon, and Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA. The store was staffed by two very nice beer geeks, who I easily chatted up about the selection. While I was there, another customer stopped in and asked for Noble Rot, the Dogfish Head wine/beer hybrid brewed with Viognier grapes afflicted by Botrytis, a fungus known colloquially as noble rot for the flavor enhancing effects it produces. I wish I had grabbed a bottle, but the price was steep compared to your average shop.

I didn’t grab anything here since the prices were 50-100 percent more than the average retail price, but it was fun to stop in anyways.

I decided to stop in at the Whole Foods in Tribeca, since it was close to the PATH line and they usually have a nice selection.

And there it was in the cooler. One of my personal whales. Ballast Point Victory at Sea. An imperial coffee vanilla porter that I have wanted for quite some time. My heart leaped and I grabbed a bottle along with a bottle of Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA.


Bear and I drank the IIPA later on the street (long story) and it was an excellent beer, very tropical, and a steal for $5/500ml. I cracked the Victory at Sea the next night. It was fantastic, easily the best coffee porter I have ever had and in the running for one of my favorites of all time. Layers of dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Went knit and integrated, with a full but soft body and a slick, silky finish. Now I just gotta get me some of the Dogfish Head Noble Rot.

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2 Responses to “Personal whale: slain OR How I learned to love the overpriced NYC beer scene”

  1. 1 Nart

    Hey baby, i wanna drink your man beer 😉

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