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East Coast beer recommendations needed

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I'm heading out form California this June for two weeks in Boston, Manhattan and DC. While there I'd like to check out the local brews. Good pubs particularly, but if there are great bottled beers that I should check out, I will.
I tend to like the strong, hoppy ales. Belgians also.
Also, any great restaurants that pair beer with food? I'm planning to check out Publik House in Boston, but are there others?
I'm flying out and relying on public transportation, so anything outside of those 3 cities is probably not do-able.
Thanks.

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  1. Best beer bars in Manhattan, IMO:

    DBA - Pre-eminent. A dozen taps of rotating craft brews, and a hundred or more bottles from all over the world. Great selection of English, Belgian, German, etc. Also single-malts, bourbons, etc, etc, etc. www.drinkgoodstuff.com

    Burp Castle (for Belgians) - usually has half a dozen Belgians on tap, and more in bottles. Google it.

    Belgian Room (connected to Hop Devil through a doorway in back) - several Belgians on tap, great selection of bottles
    Hop Devil Grill (connected to the Belgian Room through a doorway in back) - about 20 craft brews on tap, global bottle selection. Very well curated. www.hopdevil.com

    Also, get on the L train, get off at the second stop in Brooklyn (Lorimer St.) and walk 3 blocks down Union St. to Barcade, which is tied with DBA for the honor of My Favorite Bar. Utterly fantastic rotating selection of craft brews, all about $5. www.barcadebrooklyn.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: Andrew P.

      A few other places in Manhattan worth considering for a stop:

      Croxley Ales, Avenue "B" at E.3rd., decent selection, always seem to have a Blue Point product on tap, which is a great east coast brewer. http://www.croxley.com/

      Gingerman, 11 E. 36th St., btw. 5th & Madison., 66 taps, wide selection in bottles (last i checked it had a 3 page beer menu and one page for "solids"). http://www.gingermanpub.com/ny/ny-fra...

      And if you feel like something imported and German, Lederhosen, 39 Grove St. About eight German beer on tap, good and inexpensive food. If you get there when the front room is empty, it's about the most comfortable spot to have a good beer in NYC. http://www.lederhosennyc.com

    2. In DC definitely head to the Brickskeller. They have an amazing bottle selection.

      In NYC the Hop Devil Grille/Belgian Room on St Marks has a great selection. One side is devoted to US micros the other to Belgians.

      Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn will have plenty of Belgians. You can get there on the subway.

      DBA on first ave also always has great things on tap.

      As for actual east coast beers, try beers brewed by Brooklyn, Dogfishhead, Victory, Smuttynose. These breweries make good products.

      1. Im not from the east, but my new favorite beer has to be Dogfishhead from Delaware, their IPA and Indian Brown Ale are quite good.

        1. I recommend a trip to Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg (a Brooklyn neighborhood).

          About 20 minutes away on subway, great beer.

          1. If you can find it around Boston try Berkshire Brewing Company (B.B.C.). From South Deerfield Mass. They have a great Coffe house Porter among others.

            4 Replies
            1. re: uncle rico

              BBC is great my favorite is the Lost Sailor Pale Ale and the cabin fever ale. Both are great in the bottle but if you have a chance try them on tap. Also the Sunset Grill in Allston has an incredible selection.

              1. re: zenright

                I moved from Boston in 2002. I remember then that Sunset Grill had a bit of a rotation and line cleaning issue. For example I could distinctly taste Delirium Tremons in another beer that I ordered on draft. This happend with several beers that I tried there. I've read that all of this has improved. Is this true?

                1. re: Chinon00

                  I think it did for while, but my last few experiences (over last 3 months or so) there have been less than desireable.Seems lately, knowledgeable bartenders have been replaced with people who have no knowledge of the beer stock - or beer in general. Having someone there who can tell you when certain kegs were tapped is crutial to getting fresh beer there. Had one bartender try to tell me that ALL the kegs were tapped the day before - ok - I wasn't born yesterday. Beer is kept and served so cold that it not only kills the flavor, but makes them thin and watery as well. I've sworn off the place - again!!!

                  For those that love this place and think the beer is ok - have the same beer at another beer bar like Public House or Redbones and you will see the difference.

                  1. re: LStaff

                    Avoid the Sunset (Grille or Cantina) like the plague. They have more taps than they can manage to keep fresh kegs on and well cleaned. Bottle offerings might be worth perusing, if you can find someone there who will give you an idea how fresh certain bottles are, but there are much better bars to spend your time at while in Boston. Stick to places like the Publick House, Deep Ellum (in the same neighborhood as the Sunset), Buckowski's, or Redbones.

            2. The Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston (Boston suburb, public-transportation-accessible) has over 100 beers on tap and many more by the bottle.

              1. Speaking to Boston, as you may know it is a very compact and walkable town. Therefore, I would suggest that you "hop" a little and make some discoveries of your own. However, one beer from Vermont that I've recently fallen for is Wolaver's India Pale Ale (along with their Pale Ale). Both are very balanced. If you happen to see them anywhere check them out.
                Beer Works is a local brewchain that has solid beer. They have two locations in Boston (and one in Salem).

                1. If you find yourself in Midtown Manhattan, you may want to check out the "Ginger Man," which is I think around E.36th Street, or somewhere close. As far as I know that's the NY bar with the greatest selection of draughts. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with Hop Devil Grill/Belgian Room on St. Marks and Ave. A., and definitely check out the two great Williamsburg places- Spuyten Duyvil and Barcade. As far as trying the hoppy brews from the East Coast, with you coming from the land of Stone, Alesmith, Lagunitas and Russian River, be prepared for some disappointment.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Psychobabble

                    For decent hop bite from the East Coast there is:
                    Hoptical Illusion (Blue Point) - NY
                    Hop Wallop (Victory) - PA
                    Stoudt's Double IPA - PA
                    Hops Infusion (Weyerbacher) - PA

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      I'd add:

                      HopDevil (Victory- I actually prefer it over Wallop)
                      Nugget Nectar (Troegs)

                      and 2 nicely hopped pils:

                      Prima Pils (Victory)
                      Pikeland (Sly Fox)

                      If bottled (as opposed to draft), try to check the dates and get the freshest.
                      (Pikeland's canned 12 pack box also has a "Best by" date).

                      1. re: JessKidden

                        To the list of East Coast hoppies, I'd like to add three NYC-area products:

                        Captain Lawrence Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA, brewed just north of NYC. Hop explosion, and one of my favorite beers right now.

                        Brooklyn IPA (from Brooklyn Brewery) - surprisingly hoppy as well.

                        Sixpoint IPA (from Sixpoint Craft Ales in south Brooklyn).

                        These last two breweries are readily accessible from NYC public transportation, and do tours and tastings.

                      2. re: Chinon00

                        Chinon00, you put Hoptical Illusion right where it belongs, at the top of the list. Wonderful stuff. If you ever have one poured from a beer pump, it will be almost surreal.

                    2. I would recommend anything from Smuttynose.

                      1. In NY: Gingerman has a great selection of beers, but it also hosts NY's most obnoxious after-work crowd, so if you are planning a visit, avoid weekday evenings! That said, its a really great afternoon bar. IMO, dba has gone significantly downhill in the last year or so - many of their drafts don't work and quality can be very uneven. With the surly staff, crappy atmosphere and miserable bathrooms, I feel like they're perpetually giving customers "the finger". Lederhosen is great for German beers (and has amazing sausages), as is Loreley on Rivington (which always Jever on draft...mmmmm...). I've been to the Belgian Room, everyone was really nice - there is also Vol de Nuit on West 4th (which also tends to host an obnoxious crowd). If you make the trek out to Brooklyn, try the Barcade - they serve only American micros.
                        Completely agree on Smuttynose - don't miss any of their styles, they're mahhhh-velous. Also be on the lookout for Brooklyn's Sixpoint beers (their Righteous Rye is delicious and unique). Finally, I've had lots of great stuff from Allagash, so give them a try too. Have fun!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: glorypea

                          i've been to dba wearing every type of clothing from old t-shirt to suit/tie, in every state of inebriation between dead sober and blackout-drunk, at every hour of the day between 2pm and 4am. i've always been treated very warmly by the staff and enjoyed the atmosphere. i've never seen anyone given the finger. i have, however, seen every customer given free tastes of any draft anytime and free plates of tasty cheese on mondays.

                          and i'm guessing the bathrooms have been bad since the place started. that doesn't keep me up at night.

                          unless you're there on a weekend at 11pm, it's a great crowd, too.

                        2. I've had some amazing seasonal beers at Cambridge Brewing Company. http://www.cambrew.com/

                          R.F.D. in DC is owned by the same folks as Brickskeller (highly recommended) RFD has taps where the Brick doesn't and I like the food better at R.F.D. I've also had experiences at the Brick where lots of the bottles on the menu are out of stock. R.F.D. does beer cuisine. Common website for both is http://www.lovethebeer.com/

                          1. Geary's from Maine makes excellect beer particularly the Hampshire Ale.

                            1. One more thing, a great resource as well is the beer advocate website.

                              1. Is beer a priority on your trip? If so why are you skipping Philly? Best beer town on the East Coast (and it ain't even close). Great food to boot. Beats Boston. Shame.

                                My Philly ethnocentrism kicks in big time when I see a itinerary that runs from Boston to NYC to DC while skipping over my fair city. I love my northeast brothers but hate that Philly is overlooked as a destination, especially when it is such an amazing food/beer city.

                                And I'm not accusing the OP of anything.......just ranting! Gotta spread the word!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: G Goo

                                  Beer isn't a top priority on the trip, I just like to know where the good stuff is where I'll be. Honestly, the main motivation for the trip is to see a baseball game at Yankee Stadium before they tear it down.
                                  I decided to do Boston because I spent a year there almost twenty years ago, and haven't been back since. I enjoyed my time there, and have been wanting to go back for some time. And I'll get to catch the Giants at Fenway!
                                  My brother lives outside of DC, and my ten year old son wants to go to the Natural History Museum at the Smithsonian.
                                  So its not that I don't want to go to Philly and Baltimore. I just want to have plenty of time in the three areas that are definite. I did check Oriole and Philly schedules, but they don't work out. Hopefully next trip I'll make it to Camden Yards and the new Phillies park. I did see my Giants beat the Phils at the Vet in 1987 on a Bob Brenly eighth inning homer!

                                  1. re: jwbarth

                                    Boo to that! (I'm a Phillies season ticket holder.) 1987 was not a good year for the Phils. Nor was '86, '85, '21, '22, '97, '98........well you get the picture....at least we have '80 to remember. Well some do, I was 6.

                                    The food and beer at Citizen's Bank Park is surprisingly good. Local specialties abound, to include cheesteaks, roast pork italian sandwiches, the Schmitter, (not named after Mike Schmidt BTW), soft pretzels, all done by local joints (Tony Lukes, McNally's, Peace o Pizza). And local craft beer is featured....you'll find offerings by Sly Fox, Victory, Yards, Troegs, Dogfish Head....won't find that at Yankee Stadium or Fenway.

                                    Anyway, my job is done here. Have a great time in Boston, NYC and DC!

                                2. Why skip Baltimore too?

                                  1. As a Boston resident and beer lover, I can vouch for the Publick House. It's one of the best beer bars I've ever visited. They have a heavy focus on cooking with beer and pairing beer with food, and they have a particularly good selection of Belgians on draft. You'll love it.

                                    Other Boston beer places I'd recommend:

                                    Cambridge Brewing Company - My favorite brewpub in the area. The brewer is known for doing some wild beers -- beers made with heather instead of hops, barrel aged beers, a "summer barleywine," etc.

                                    Redbones - This is a BBQ place in Davis Square. The BBQ is mediocre, even by Boston standards, but they have an excellent beer selection. Last week they had 5-6 double IPAs on tap. They're probably gone by now, but who knows.

                                    Sunset Grill and Tap - The largest selection in Boston, but I don't like it as much as the Publick House. The tend to serve their beers too cold, and some have complained that they keep the kegs on too long. It also has a more college-student atmosphere than the Publick House.

                                    Boston Beer Works - This is a local brewpub chain with locations near Fenway and the TDBanknorth Garden. They are probably the most mainstream brewpub in the area, but when I've been there recently they've had some interesting beers on tap. I wouldn't go out of my way to visit, but if you're near Fenway or the Garden, it's a solid choice.

                                    If you're looking for a place to buy bottled beers, I recommend Bauer Wine and Spirits on Newbury Street. It's a small place with a small selection, but every one of the beers they sell is high quality and usually interesting. The beer guy there (Nick Blakey) really knows his stuff, so be sure to ask him if you have any questions. Other good options include Charles Street Liquors near MGH, The Wine Gallery in Kenmore Square and Brookline, and Downtown Wine and Spirits in Davis Square.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: afty698

                                      One more recommendation: If you like hoppy beers, pick up a sixer of The Tap's Leatherlips IPA (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/... ). It's different in that it's not very strong (5% ABV) but is hopped like a DIPA. It's very hoppy and very tasty. It's brewed by a brewpub in Haverhill, and they just recently started bottling it. Very limited distribution, so you won't find it outside New England.

                                      1. re: afty698

                                        Oh yeah, big-time seconds for Leatherlips and The Tap brewpub. It's frequently available on tap at Redbones in Slummer....errr, Somerville and at the great, previously unmentioned on this thread, Horseshoe Pub in Hudson. Also outstanding, when it's in rotation, is John Harvard's Curly Q IPA.

                                        1. re: Harp00n

                                          Oh yeah I forgot, Leatherlips is also on tap at the hot new beer bar cum resto Deep Ellum in Brighton

                                    2. I may be beaten with a beer bottle for saying this, but when it comes to east coast beers, I always think Yuengling from PA. It's not a very strong beer but it's cheap and it's good. I know tons of people who were raised on it and will only drink it, many of them not even from PA.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: hungry_fox

                                        Nothing wrong with Yuengling, it's a good lawnmower beer.

                                        1. re: Harp00n

                                          I don't know, it's just good, check for it on here, there're plenty of people who love it.

                                          1. re: hungry_fox

                                            To me it's just a middle of the road beer with not much in the way of taste.

                                            1. re: hon

                                              Face it, there are lots of people who like this style of beer - no hop flavor and a sweet finish

                                              1. re: brentk

                                                Like I said, lawnmower beer. Think in terms of 6 packs not individual quaffs.

                                      2. You have to visit Baltimore if you want good beer. Brewers Art for trappist style ales, Wharf Rat for English Ales, DuClaw for a great "chain" brewery. While you are on the east coast check out some of the Clipper City Heavy Seas line. They are high octain great tasting beers available at most good bars in the area.

                                        1. I think Otter Creek Summer Wheat is an excellent brew. Quite frankly, I would drink it year round if it was available. I also like the Kolsch that Saranac offers (kind of hard to find and usually only in mixed flavor 12 packs for some reason).

                                          1. And I would also add Harpoon's (UFO) Hefeweizen.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: TonyO

                                              It's worth noting that UFO is little like a true German hefe (other than in color/cloudiness). It has that bitter, American wheat ale thing going on. Why people put a lemon in this beer, which already tastes like lemons, is beyond me. There's much better beer to be had while on the east coast.

                                              1. re: braineater

                                                If you like hefe's try Penn Weizen from the Pennsylvania brewery in Pittsburgh. The best American hefe I've found so far, reminds me of German hefes.

                                            2. In DC,check out RFD on 7th Street NW, near the Smithsonian museums. Big selection of taps and bottles, and close to where you're going.

                                              www.lovethebeer.com

                                              1. If your willing to take a 45 minute sidetrip (easily acceesible by commuter rail from NYC), check out captain lawrence in pleasantville NY.

                                                http://www.captainlawrencebrewing.com...

                                                If you want to make a whole day of it you could check out the Rockefeller state park reserve which is close by or if your a foodie and into the whole organic farming thing visit stone barns agriculutural center. If your a film buff, the brewery is next to what I think is one of the top five art houses in the whole NYC area, Jacob Burns film Center (in pleasantville).

                                                1. The Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, ME turns out some worthy brews - they're further north than you're headed, but their fresh bottles and kegs should be available, especially in Boston. Don't expect anything as strong or as hoppy as our beloved West Coast brews, but the export and the IPA are really tasty. Allagash Brewing, also in ME, makes lovely Belgian ales.