Luscious Beers and Bubbly Women

World Wide StoutIn the past few years, Dogfish Head Brewery‘s famed World Wide Stout has been a cold-weather fixture in this part of the world. It is “the world’s strongest dark ale”, and at 21% alcohol it’s not hard to see why! Last year’s batch, which clocked in at about 23%, was a bit disappointing, with a noticeable harshness; this year’s slightly toned-down version is a winner –a superb, smooth, toasty and roasty brew that is stout indeed!

Last night, the Blind Tiger Ale House –one of the best beer bars in the city– hosted not only the WWS premiere, but also presented about 20 “very special” beers from around the US and the world, with an emphasis on strong, dark, spicy winter beers. By 6 o’clock the place was already packed, by 6:30 the complimentary cheese board was bare, but the beers kept going strong well into the night.

Brooklyn Brewery’s Organic Porter is a disappointment, too much of an ashy aftertaste to its roastiness; and so is Dogfish’s other offering, a peach/vanilla pseudo-lambic , whose aroma does promise much more than the palate actually delivers: hardly any peach, hardly any vanilla, and –more damning– hardly any acidity and barnyard funkiness. In fact, apart from a one-dimensional, lingering cheesy hint, there is nothing much lambic-like to this beer. A worthy effort, perhaps one that will bear fruit in later years, but at this point it’s not even a minor bump on the road to Cantillon, Hanssens, Girardin, or Drie Fonteinen.

Hop-heads, of which I am definitely not, raved about Avery’s “Hog Heaven”, a Cascade-infused barleywine of the sort that they overindulge in on the Pacific Northwest, even though this one comes from Colorado.

So many beers, so little time! But they’ll still be around for a few days, so it’s worth taking a side trip to Hudson and West 10th this week-end.

Jo Boobs at the PussycatFrom timeless beers to tasseled breasts, it’s only a short ride down the #1 IRT to Rector Street. The Pussycat Lounge, a classic strip bar on the ground floor, is also home to the Cat Bar on the second floor, a relatively new rock venue that also dabbles in burlesque on Wednesdays when the combined forces of the Coney Island Sideshows and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus present Lucky Stiff, one of those post-modern neo-ironic Time-Out-tantalizing burlesque shows that have been making headlines in recent days. After a musical introduction by the Reverend Tribble and the Angels, it all came down to juggling and jiggling; Jo Boobs (left) twirled her … tassels, Porno Jim and Carin, his lovely assistant, taught the masses how to shop for good pornography, and in the spirit of the upcoming Halloween, Julie Atlas Muz did her splendid take on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s I put a spell on you.

And so it was, another night on the frontlines in New York City.

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