New York in Springtime: Rattle N Hum and Captain Lawrence

Something I love/hate about New York bars is the open air feel. When the weather is wonderful, as it is now, the wafting breeze coming in through the open storefront of Rattle N Hum is almost as intoxicating as the beer. However during the sweltering summer months these storefronts still remain open…because there is no air conditioning. When I was at this bar with my friends last April, we almost passed out in our hummus.

Speaking of hummus, Rattle N Hum’s is outstanding. Served with warm grilled pita bread and a small salad of cucumber, spinach, red pepper, tomato and a balsamic vinaigrette (an actual salad!). The hummus is wonderful, sprinkled with paprika and dosed with, what I think may be lemon. I want them to bottle it so I can get it at home. Actually I want them to inject it into me intravenously. Now, on to the beer.

Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale. Poured with a huge head, and leaves insane lacing on the glass. Served a little warm, but that might be on purpose. Some English yeast characters, fruity, a little sweet. Low carbonation, but some good bitterness at the end. The citrus from some of the hops are doing good things with the fruit from the yeast. This is an English pint of beer, to be sure. Not a very big beer at 5.2%, but exactly what I was looking for after walking around the city for a while. A very deserved A-.

I decided to continue on with my Captain Lawrence theme, and got the Liquid Gold Belgian pale ale. Wonderful banana and clove/spice aroma. Golden with a slight haze. Flavor is sweet and fruity, with some spice notes following in the aftertaste. The carbonation lends a nice sharpness, and the finish is fairly dry. A nice, straightforward, Belgian pale ale. I don’t know why, but Belgian pale ale is a style that doesn’t get much press. It’s not a wheat beer, like a hefeweizen or a weissbier. It has it’s own character, with some bitterness from hops to back it up. Not to say hops are the dominating factor here, as they too often are in American beers. Belgian pale ale is all about the yeast, and the esters it produces. Captain Lawrence seems to have a better handle on the world of American hops and Belgian yeast than most American (or Belgian) brewers do. I gave this one a B+.