Getting soaked in more ways than one

from the Playboy Blog, 9/16/08

Mother nature kindly dumped barrels of rain on New York City last Friday. But that didn’t keep thirsty souls from flooding into South Street Seaport that night, where over 80 craft breweries had pitched tents for the third annual New York Brewfest.

There are difficulties inherent in attempting to write about a five hour long, all-you-can-drink beer marathon. It’s not easy to shoulder your way up to a bar through a crowd of guys twice your size in bright red Duane Reade ponchos. But looking back, my biggest problem is just remembering what the hell happened, especially on a night when any notes I may have taken quickly turned to mush. Here are the brief highlights I do recall…

Best beer: Ithaca Nut Brown
It didn’t choke me with hops like some of the IPAs, but still had plenty of earthy flavor (where some brown ales fall short), and a smooth texture. Even with 80 breweries and hundreds of individual beers to try, I came back to Ithaca for seconds.

Worst beer: Brown’s Cherry Raspberry Ale
I like to keep my berries and beer separate, but I have found a few fruity beers that are nice on a summer day. Not this one. The combination of sickeningly sweet and surprisingly boozy flavors reminded me of another brand I try to drink sparingly: Robitussin.

Best surprise: Oatmeal Stout
Everywhere. Maybe my bias just led me to it, but on a rainy day with little food in my stomach it was nice to find this hearty selection at about every third bar I visited. Samuel Smith had the best.

Worst surprise:
The state of the port-a-johns around hour 4.5. Okay, maybe that shouldn’t have been a surprise.

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