RECOMMENDED: This year’s guide to the best beer in NYC
From Williamsburg lounges (Donna) to East Village bistros (Calliope), this classic New England lager is the nouveau brew of choice for penny-pinching twentysomethings. Clean and well-balanced, the $4 tall boy is cheap enough to have supplanted the watery, tired hipster icon—a fact we expect few to shed tears over.Toss that oversize glass jug in the recycling bin. Top craft breweries like 21st Amendment and Oskar Blues have anointed the humble aluminum can as their favored modern beer receptacle, prized for its ease of production (meaning brewers can experiment with more small-batch lines) and freshness (the metal is ideal for blocking light and oxygen).
With the explosion of beers on the market—and so many of them carrying fearsome ABVs—the 16-ounce pour can prove unduly limiting. At suds destinations like Proletariat and the Pony, the eight-ounce version has gained ascendance among in-the-know drinkers, who favor the new serving size for encouraging a wider sampling of drafts and being easier on the wallet and liver.
Gluten-free beer is the new organic beerWith the diet-conscious customer in mind, dozens of brewers have begun attacking the challenge of making a beer without staples like barley and wheat—just as organic beer eschewed conventional fertilizers and pesticides. For proof of their success, look no further than the guys unknowingly sipping on gluten-free hits such as Red Bridge at Dram Shop or Brunehaut Bio Blanche at the Double Windsor.
Craft-brewery collaboration is the new craft breweryIf the past year has demonstrated anything, it’s that two hopheads are better than one. Newly minted classics like Brux (jointly produced by Sierra Nevada and Russian River) and Liquid Breadfruit (made by Dogfish Head and Maui Brewing Co.) were the products of brewers putting aside competition to combine resources and ideas, allowing them to take more risks with popular, limited-run concotions.
Smoked is the new sourOne Northern European style usurps another on cutting-edge taps around town. Harkening back to the days when malts were dried over a fire, recently launched smoked beers like Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier at Blind Tiger Ale House suggest a charred, slightly burnt flavor that’s in vogue with well-informed palates.
Hard cider is the new lambicThe fermented colonial beverage, long a mainstay of European drinking, is making a comeback in the U.S., providing a hint of fruity sweetness to those who might normally opt for a framboise-based Belgian lager. Get a taste of the renaissance at spots like the John Dory Oyster Bar, which pours Dooryard from Farnum Hill in New York, or the Narrows, where you can sip on Crispin Cider, made in Minneapolis.
Ruffian Wine Bar & Chef's Table
Tompkins Square gains a notable addition in Ruffian Wine Bar & Chef’s Table, a tiny (19 stools in total) resto with what’s sure to become an outsize presence in minds of the city’s many oenophiles, thanks to a carefully curated wine list that changes almost daily and excellent sommelier service. Four industry vets—chefs Josh Ochoa and Andy Alexandre and two full time sommeliers, Alexis Percival and owner Patrick Cournot—work in conjunction behind a 3,000 pound cream-colored concrete bar, producing small shared plates that pair nicely with the long list of food-friendly wines. Ruffian has already carved out a reputation for esoteric vintages, and even offers a few cloudy orange wines by the glass in response to the ever-increasing trend toward Georgian varietals. The food menu changes almost daily to incorporate the freshest ingredients available at green markets around the city. The constant flux of menu options amounts to what ultimately feels like a boutique experience—no two visits will be exactly the same. There is some sense of cohesion, though. The menu tends toward Eurocentric cuisine no matter the day; on a recent visit, warm vegetable dishes like roasted golden beets ($12) and a cauliflower soup ($10) were accented with Mediterranean flourishes, while the chicken liver pâté came with pickled grapes ($18). Like everything else at Ruffian, the food, while delicious, seems to exist only to complement to the superior wine selection, which leaves the most lasting impre
Venue says: “Now open Sundays from 3pm-10pm! Happy hour from 3PM-5PM; $10 glasses of wine and small plates from $6-$10.”