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Lazy Afternoon Drinking

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I don't get out as much as I'd like to. Usually on my day off I do some chores, drink some homebrew and catch up on Game of Thrones. When Brooklyn Magazine kindly included Bitter & Esters in their A to Z guide to craft beer in Brooklyn, I noticed some places that I had never been too and some I had never heard of! So many places in our Borough to drink craft beer and a couple to buy ingredients to make it! Pretty awesome. So instead of watching Orange is the New Black, Carla and I jumped on our bicycles and set forth to discover new places and new tastes. We decided to start close to home with three places we had never been to. First stop was the Pickle Shack on 256 Fourth ave in Park Slope. When we walked in I noticed the chef Neal was one of our customers. I asked him how long he had been working there and he said ever since he opened it. No wonder I haven't seen Neal in a while! We sat in their lovely backyard. All of the drafts at the Pickle shack are from Dogfish Head. Neal told us his business partner was friends with Sam Calagione, and they decided to carry 8 Dogfish Heads as their draft options. Carla ordered Namaste, a wit beer made with lemongrass that she just loved. I got the Red and White, an oak aged beer fermented with pinot noir juice. It went beautifully with my veggie burger. The Pickle Shack also has an impressive list of bottles from other breweries. Speaking of the menu, we noticed they were very vegetarian friendly at which point we were told that they are actually a vegetarian restaurant. Being vegetarians this made Carla and I very happy. Carla got the fried Oyster mushrooms which were fantastic. The Pickle Shack partners with Brooklyn Brine so everything came with delicious pickles. It is so nice to eat at a vegetarian restaurant. It makes life easier for us. I am not against meat eating, I get it. I used to eat meat. But there are so many meat heavy places in Brooklyn. Does everything have to include bacon? Before you say anything i know the answer, of course it does. Thanks for the beer Neal! Right across the street is Mission Dolores, which I have never been to! I know, hard to believe. I never saw forrest gump either, sue me. I can now say i have been to Mission Dolores and really liked it. Nice space. Old garage I assume, very cool decor. Carla had the empire cream ale on nitro (that girl loves nitro) and I had the Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, a really nice British IPA. This boy loves cask ales. We could have stayed for more, it's a great place and carry's the Good Beer Seal. From there we went to Die Koelner Bierhalle at 84 St Marks Place. Customers have been telling me about this place for a while, but I had it confused with someplace else. This place is a massive German style beer hall. Both Carla and I have spent time in Germany and this felt pretty authentic. A nice selection of German beers on tap, all with the proper glassware. The oompa music topped off the Deutschland air. I really felt like i was back in Germany, a nice feeling (as I write this Kraftwerk's Das Model came on my playlist). I was impressed by the bartenders knowledge of the beers they poured including a lot of lagers and a good selections of Kolsch. I had a Bayreuther Zwick'l kellerbier while Carla had a Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbeer. We were pretty full from lunch but had to have a giant pretzel. At 8 bucks it was a bit steep but it was great. What the heck, it's my day off. The bartender told me it gets packed on the weekend. Not for me. I like lazy afternoon drinking. I convinced him to learn to brew his own. We hopped on our bikes, buzzed, and trekked home. And had some home brew. Next time we are hitting the new places in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Research, always research. John


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