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

This is exactly how I wanted it to work out! I had been holding off on reviewing Alphabet City Brewing’s flagship beer until I could find it at the similarly named Alphabet City Beer Co. And when I stopped in early on a Friday evening, it all went according to plan.

The two businesses are unrelated, except for the fact that both sell (or make) beer and both are in the once rough neighborhood of Alphabet City. And, of course, both would come first in phone book listings.

But there is, of course, a mutual respect for each other and love of the craft beer product. The bartender even told me that the brewing company would be having their launch party for their second beer at the bar this week. Find out details here.

The bar is indeed pretty cool. It’s one of those spaces that has a retail section up front with a dark bar for sampling and warm couches and long tables in the back for socializing.

They offer beer in many sizes, from small 10 ounce pours all the way up to growler fills. I took two 10 ouncers so I could sample more than one option. I think a growler would be too much in one sitting, thank you very much!

It wasn’t the first time I tasted the Alphabet City Easy Blonde Ale, but it was certainly the most appropriate (in Alphabet City). The blonde ale was indeed blonde in color with strong lively bubbles and a shallow head. It smelled of fresh grains and hop with a little hint of yeasty banana. Drinking it was a little too easy with a slightly bitter finish that is subdued by a light effervescence. I found it to be a bit watery, but a strong sessionable brew.

Captain Lawrence’s Smoked Porter was more what I wanted for these crisp early days of winter. It’s a dramatic dark brown with strong aromas of barbecue, coffee, and ash. The flavor matches the nose with coffee taking a back seat to the smoke. There’s a hint of sweetness, but this is as smoky as advertised with a light acidity at the finish. It tasted more like tobacco smoke to me than meaty barbecue.

I can’t think of a more comfortable setting for these two very different, distinct beers than the comfortable haven of ABC Beer Co. It’s a bit out of the way, but it’s worth the trek to celebrate the beer appreciation happening in the ‘hood.

Is Alphabet City’s Easy Blonde Ale the best beer in NY? It’s a very drinkable light ale with creamy notes and a bitter finish so gets an 8 out of 10, even though it may be just a tad watery.

Is Captain Lawrence’s Smoked Porter the best beer in NY? I love smoky, earthy flavors and this balanced, but bracing brew did not let me down. 9 out of 10.

ALPHABET CITY BREWING COMPANY
acbcnyc.com
CAPTAIN LAWRENCE BREWING COMPANY
captainlawrencebrewing.com/
ALPHABET CIY BEER CO.
96 Avenue C (between East 6th and East 7th Street),
East Village
(646) 422-7103
abcbeer.co
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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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