Monday, May 16, 2011

Chelsea Brewing Company

I recently was fortunate enough to spend a week in New York City and spend some time checking out the local beer scene. I’d heard that New York actually wasn’t a great beer town, but after my experiences I’d beg to differ. Although it was my second to last day in NYC, I’m going to start by writing about Chelsea Brewing Company.
I spent the morning at the Empire State Building, and being a dumb tourist, thought I’d just walk over to the west side of Manhattan. I made it as far as Madison Square Garden and decided the street numbers weren’t dropping fast enough and the subway sounded like a much better option. I got off at my stop, and what seemed to be a theme of the trip, I headed the wrong direction. I walked a few blocks before realizing this, of course. Finally, after much delay, I arrived at a large building that had a sign that said the brewery was in there. I didn’t realize I was basically walking into the backside of the complex because is built to face the water (an address of Chelsea Piers, Pier 59 should have clued me in).
I decided to take a seat at the bar but after looking around I should have asked for a seat at a lower level because there are huge windows looking out onto the water. Luckily though I had a great bartender who made up for missing out on the view. I ordered a sampler and a burger to eat. The sampler consisted of 6 beers. They were honestly all good, but the Black Hole XXX Stout blew me away. Stouts I rarely find amazing. Maybe if it’s barrel aged or imperial, but for the most part, the stout part of the sampler is normally a “It’s good, but what’s next?” beer. I began drinking it and it suddenly hit me that I was drinking an awesome stout.

The bartender brought me a couple more samplers of beers that they don’t offer in their regular sampler including a pumpkin beer that was interesting, and I mean that in a good way.
After I horked down my burger and sampler I walked around outside and checked out the view. Really wish I’d been there later in spring because there is outside seating on the boardwalk that would have been awesome, even more so than the seats looking out the window.

I then went back inside and started looking in to the brewery and taking some pics when a man walked up to me and asked if I’d like to go inside and see it up close. As it turns out, it was one of the brewers, Mark Szmaida.

Even after the awesome beers and great burger, this turned out to be my favorite part of my visit. We just hung out and talked for probably 30 minutes. We spoke a bit about beer trip; a lot about the New York beer scene which was fascinating. He couldn’t have been a more gracious host, but that seems to be the consistent case with those in the craft beer world. Chelsea Brewing’s brews are only available on tap in the northeast. If you live in the area or are fortunate enough to visit one of the world’s truly great cities, please go by the brewery itself or find a place that serves their beers. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be supporting a great brewery.

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