My search for the best beer in New York continues….

Anybody who’s met me knows I’m not the biggest guy in the world and that when it comes to drinking, I can have maybe three beers before landing on my rear end. So half pints are perfect for me. They enable me to taste more beer (without getting sick) and their diminutive stature parallel my own.

The Gibson is a laid-back very darkly lit bar at the end of the main drag of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. From the outside, it looks more like a place you would go to sip a gibson rather than down a beer. The clientele seems a little older and more mature than the baby faced hipsters at some establishments down the street. But they must still be younger than me since they didn’t need one of those mini-flashlights to read the menu in this very dark establishment. I practically did.

I was able to make out the beer list, which was impressively diverse. I was able to get two half pints (thank you) of two local beers I had yet to try. The bartender might have looked at me funny for wanting to drink that way or maybe I misread her signals. Did I mention how dark the room was?

I found some light at one of the bars against the wall to taste my beers and get somewhat decent photos.

I started with Greenport Harbor’s Spring Turning Saison. After doing some research online, it turns out this is a rye ale. Funny, I didn’t get much rye flavor but it did give off a pleasant fresh spicy quality.

The clear beer was incredibly light (I could even tell in all this darkness) and looked as golden and bubbly as most commercially produced light beers in this country. The nose had more complexity with honey, fresh grains, and yeast. When tasting it, it started very clean and yeasty with a full sharp spicy finish. I found the hop content to be rather low and the beer incredibly drinkable and fresh.

My next half pint was Captain Lawrence’s Espresso Stout. This spoke to all the flavors I like. I thought it was an incredible example of the style. It was dark brown with a tight tan head. The nose was wonderful with coffee and cream, perhaps some toffee. It smelled like coffee ice cream – which is my favorite flavor.

The beer was magnificently smooth with strong nutty and coffee flavors. It had an almost buttery finish with notes of chocolate, vanilla, and coconut lingering. It has a much more mellow and smooth body than one would expect.

And with just two half pints in me, I managed to walk out of this bar with my integrity and vision intact.

Is Greenport Harbor’s Spring Turning Saison the best beer in NY? It’s a very sessionable beer that has all those spicy, fresh qualities you’d expect from the spring. An 8 out of 10.

Is Captain Lawrence’s Espresso Stout the best beer in NY? A 9 out of 10 for being a great smooth and not too sweet beer that reminds me of a coffee ice cream float. Without as many calories.

GREENPORT HARBOR BREWING COMPANY
harborbrewing.com
CAPTAIN LAWRENCE BREWING COMPANY
captainlawrencebrewing.com/
THE GIBSON
103 Bedford Avenue (at North 11th Street)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 387-6296
thegibsonnyc.com
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Category: Beer

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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