Where to hold a beer-tasting dinner for 16 people?
My husband, a huge fan of American microbrews, turns 40 in a few months. I went to a wine-tasting/pairing dinner at Italian Wine Merchants a few years ago and it was fantastic. I'd like to re-create something like this, but w/craft beers for his birthday in May. Any recs on a place that could handle something like this? I'd like to find a place that could have most/all of the following:
1) Good food and wide selection of American craft beers
2) A private room for the party, that can hold approximately 16 people
3) A knowledgable beer sommelier who can do a short talk and tasting before dinner (or maybe between courses - not sure if that will kill the mood at the table)
4) In Manhattan
If you have any other thoughts or ideas on how to incorporate my husband's love of beer into a birthday party would be appreciated! I've considered having a large group of people to a beer garden in Brooklyn or Queens, but since most of the invitees have young kids (including us), we would rather stay closer to home.
Italian Wine Merchants
108 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003
Of the high end restaurants, it seems that Danny Meyer restuarants tend to be strong on the beers - I think Meyer & Colicchio might be secret beer snobs or something. Gramercy Tavern has an excellent beer selection - 50+ bottles, including a number of vintage ones. Colicchio & Sons has a similar one as well, though it's not on their website for some reason - but last month TC did a special menu there paired with beers from Brooklyn Brewery. And Eleven Madison Park has a spectacular selection, nearly 100, though the meal itself will likely be a bit pricier. I can't say, off the top of my head, how many of them are specifically American beers - but there are a number of them, for sure. And seeing as how brewers, unlike vintners, will import their raw ingredients from wherever, there isn't really a "terroir" to beer the way there is to wine, so that may not make too much of a difference. Though I'm sure that at any of the above they'd come up with a great meal and great pairings, whatever parameters you want to put aroud it.
I find that many sommeliers are serious beer nerds as well, especially at places where that's reflected in the menu - sometimes there might even be a seperate "beerelier" on staff who'd be pretty excited to do something along those lines, since the wine guys get all the respect usually.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010
42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
Colicchio & Sons
85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
True. They have one private dining room - well, "semi-private" as it's in the kitchen, I think - that would be just the right size. I guess I didn't think of them at first because I find the food to be less than exciting (with a few exceptions), and a great deal of it quite overpriced - including the beer. Their beer prices are significantly higher than, say, d.b.a. a short walk away - which isn't a cheap bar to begin with.
41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
I agree with these good suggestions so far, but the best beer tasting dinners I've had have been at Jimmy's No. 43. They have a back room for events, an extensive beer list, and a great menu. They have a back room space for tasting events they host, and private parties.
And the owner, Jimmy Carbone and his staff, could not be nicer.
Jimmy's No. 43
43 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003