Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hungover Hike to Brooklyn

Brooklyn, NY (day 2 of 3)
Carroll Gardens to Park Slope

After a very long first day hiking all over Manhattan (up at 7am and walking and drinking from noon until... late), Day 2 didn't start out all that great. I was feeling pretty lousy, but hopeful that a hearty breakfast and a good long hike over the Brooklyn Bridge would set me right. It almost worked.

I'm aware that this is not a photo of Brooklyn.

Chris and I allowed ourselves a few extra hours of sleep and then began the day by taking the short walk from our Alphabet City apartment down to SoHo and the very busy Clinton St. Baking Co. I'm still not sure how this happened, but we were miraculously led past the line and seated at the counter. I managed to take down about half of my delicious biscuit sandwich, a big glass of orange juice and about a liter of seltzer before the previous day's revelry caught up with me and suggested that I step outside. I was holding it together, but it wasn't easy. Thankfully, it was time to walk:

Brooklyn: Over the Bridge, Carroll Gardens to Park Slope;
Clinton St. Baking--Brooklyn Bridge--Bar Great Harry--The Gate--Bierkraft--The Owl Farm--Double Windsor
About 6.6 miles

View NYC Day 2: Brooklyn in a larger map

From the Bakery, we headed south to Delancey St. and got a quick glimpse of the Williamsburg Bridge. We planned to hike across that tomorrow, but for now, we continued toward Chinatown. By the time we arrived at New York City Hall and the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge walkway, it was already almost 90 degrees and muggy as fuck -- early September is still summer. The trail was crowded, too. A lot of other people apparently had the same idea we did. I wondered if any of them had had as much beer yesterday as I did... Not bloody likely.

Much of the crowd turned around near the halfway point across the Bridge and by the time we arrived in Brooklyn an hour later, the crowd had thinned considerably. I had worked up a good sweat by this point and was feeling better, but still not that great.

photo from

Chris seemed to be doing just fine for his part as he effortlessly led us to our first beer stop of the day, Bar Great Harry. We arrived right as the bartender was opening the place and I know that being the first one in the door, with the place barely open, drives Chris nuts. He relaxed as soon as we got some beer in front of us. He probably went with something from Barrier Brewing, a newish brewery out on Long Island -- he had a lot from them on this trip. I remember that I went with a Founders Rübæus (rasberry) beer. It was crisp, slightly tart and bubbly -- exactly what I needed to slowly get me going for the day. From then on, I was fine and it was full speed ahead on the beer hike.

After an enjoyable chat with our bartender at BGH, we continued on. You can do the next three stops on the hike in any order -- they're pretty close together. We were looking forward to trying the well-reviewed sandwich counter at Bierkraft later, but weren't ready eat again yet, so we made for The Gate instead (#4 on the map).

The Gate has been around for a good long time (est. 1997) and is the kind of place that's easy to spend all day in. There's a fairly large outdoor area, but today we were happy to sit at the bar and enjoy the air conditioning. Here's a picture of two of my best beer hiking buddies enjoying some pints at the end of the bar:

Chris and my Mobile Juice Pack

Venturing back out into the heat, we backtracked a bit up Fifth Ave. to Bierkraft. We'd heard plenty about how great this little bottle shop/taproom (and much more) is and it didn't disappoint. Chris and I struggled to pick a sandwich off the menu, but finally settled on the Italian. We managed to find a small space to sit among the sea of MacBooks at the tables -- was there a fantasy football draft going on? -- and wasted no time tearing into the neatly packed, delicious roll of goodness (free Zapp's chips, too!) I always feel weird taking pictures of my food, so here's a good one of the Italian that I found on the web:

photo courtesy of Carey Jones at Serious Eats

By the time we left Bierkraft, it was finally beginning to cool off and settle into a tolerably warm evening. We backtracked once again down Fifth Avenue to The Owl Farm. We'd heard from a few different sources that there was to be a wild, sour, and Brett(anomyces) beer tap takeover so we thought it was wise to check it out. (Get it? Wise? Sorry.)

Once again we had the good luck to have two prime seats at the bar open up right when we walked in. We even ran into our bartender from Proletariat last night (Anthony). Pretty cool! The place was rocking when one particularly clueless young bro stepped up to the bar and less-than-courteously told the bartender that there was something wrong with his brown ale:

BRO:   "It tastes sour."
BARTENDER: "It's a sour brown. We're having a sour beer night tonight." (points to menu)
BRO:   "I think there's something wrong with it."
BARTENDER: "No, it's supposed to be that way. Do you still want it?"
BRO:   "Not really. Do you have any regular beer?

And scene. I have to hand it to the bartender -- he was patient and polite. It probably wasn't the first time he'd had that exchange. A lot of people don't know that wild ales are a thing. Don't be offended if the bartender quizzes you a little when you order one. They're probably just making sure you know what you are ordering before they pour it. That shit ain't cheap.

After a couple tasty sours and a semi-fun time helping some lady who spilled the entire contents of her purse on the floor (Christ, lady, are you on your way to Coinstar?), we took off for our final stop in Brooklyn. I think we stopped for a slice at one of the several John's Pizzas (or was it Jon's?) before arriving at The Double Windsor, another local favorite for good beer and food. They even banned babies after 5pm (a bold move in Park Slope, I'm told), so they're a favorite of mine, too. It was much too dark inside to take any good photos of the bar, food, or Chris' questionable conduct, so here's a bunch from people I don't know:

- Click -

By the time we got on our F train back to Manhattan (there's a subway station very close to The DW), we were good and tired, but not beaten. It had been a long day with a lot more ups than downs and we were looking forward to visiting some other Brooklyn neighborhoods tomorrow. We still had some gas in the tank when we got back to the Village, so we stopped into Marshall Stack for a beer and got to watch some Stella-drinking motherfucker try to pick up three girls at the same time then headed to ABC Beer Company, right near our apartment, for a nightcap.

I visited ABC a few times on this trip and loved it. It reminds me a lot of Bottleworks, Beer Junction, Bierkraft, Beer Mongers... It's a very cool little craft beer place with fine meat and cheese in the deli case. There's lots of space to hang out in, but they close at midnight during the week. This was a good thing for us, otherwise we might have stayed out too late, like the night before, and hated ourselves for it the next morning.

Tomorrow would be our last hike in New York City -- an even more hot and humid march to Brooklyn. I took a some notes on napkins that I have to try and decipher before I can tell you about it, though. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading. I didn't take too many photos, maybe because I was hung over. But here are the ones I did take:

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