Beer Cans—Bustin’ Out
Oh, you knew it was going to happen, with those annoying hipsters in their annoying hipster uniforms, guzzling their PBRs and congratulating themselves on the irony in their belchy, watery buzz. Craft brewers are putting high-quality beer in cans—but here’s the weird bit: those cans are being cracked in restaurants.
Even with its 20 draught taps, Birdsall House is serving canned beers from Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Craft Ales (profiled in the New York Times here) right next to hand-pulled growlers and pints in Birdsall’s new beer garden. According to John Sharp, one of the partners behind Birdsall House (with whom I spoke recently, amidst the roar of circular saws), “Some people just like canned beer. You know, they like to put a cozy on it. It’s sort of fun. We’re thinking of serving the pint Sixpoint cans in buckets of ice outside in the beer garden.” And bartaco, a byword in cocktail chic (where juiced-to-order citrus and top-shelf tequilas base the margaritas) is slinging Porkslap, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, and Dale’s Pale Ale, all in frosty cans. Whaaa?
Oh, it’s easy to blame the hipsters (because, guess what, kids? Even a hipster uniform is a frikken’ uniform), but it turns out that, from a drinker’s point of view, there are advantages to buying beer in cans. Aluminum cans block light transmission, which, as any frat boy knows, causes a chemical reaction that turns bottled beer “skunky,” and there is no possibility of contamination from air in the top of a can (as there is in the neck of a bottle). Also, for impulse buyers, the thin walls of cans transmit cold faster than glass, so they chill faster. And canned beer no longer bears the metallic tang of aluminum. Modern beer cans (and all food cans, btw) are lined with a water-based polymer that prevents the product from being in contact with the metal.
Says Sharp, “Cans are here to stay. And, it’s cool that, now, if you go fishing, you can bring a good-tasting beer on the boat. Used to be that only the big boys like Budweiser sold beer in cans – and there are a lot of outdoor places where you can’t bring glass bottles.” Yeah, like pools and beaches—but what does that have to do with cans appearing in restaurants, some with taps?
Kitsch. Those pesky hipsters again. Sharp says, “There’s no advantage to canned beer if you’re drinking it in a restaurant. The big advantage to cans is in their convenience for off-premise consumption.” So what about those Sixpoint cans? “We did it as a fun kind of jokey event with Sixpoint for Father’s Day—you know, dads and their cans of beer. There’s definitely a kitsch factor in canned beer, though most real beer drinkers I know prefer a bottle.”
Cans are also rebellious. In these days of earnest, farm-to-growler drinking, to pop a top on a restaurant table is in-your-face punk behavior. “Yeah,” Sharp sighs (I imagine, as he looks at his 20-tap draught tower). “Yeah. There might be some of that.”
Anthony Colasacco of Pour Cafe & Wine Bar in Mount Kisco owns a popular wine bar that, along with its roughly 15-label craft-beer bottle list, is cracking cans of Sixpoint Righteous Ale and Old Chub Scotch Ales. “I’d say that canned beer is fun and kind of trendy—though the hipster quotient isn’t really high up here. The people ordering beer in cans at Pour are mostly craft-beer drinkers checking out the new craft-beer thing.”
Speaking of trending beer-delivery devices, have you heard the news that Growlers Beer Bistro is set to open in Tuckahoe late in July? The spot, at the Main Street Depot at 25 Main Street (914-834-8349), is named for the 64-ounce refillable jugs once hailed as the height of trendiness, but now are despaired in the sinister (but well-named) Eater as a departed fad. That’s the funny thing about beer drinkers: you wouldn’t think by looking at them, but they’re so faddish—do you remember those 90’s-era brew pubs? (And, PS, Growlers Beer Bistro will sell beer in cans, too). What do you think? Are you drinking beer in cans?
Alfresco at Bedford Post
Wednesday – Sunday, 3 pm – 5:30 pm – One thing that’s such a pity about dining alfresco at restaurants is that, rarely is the food cooked out of doors. No smell of smoke, no glow from burning coals; while you may be eating under the stars, your food was prepared under the glowing fluorescent lights and roar of a restaurant hood. Chef Jeremy McMillan at Bedford Post is changing all that.
Bedford Post’s new, 50-seat patio and grill unites the pleasures of dining and cooking alfresco with a new grill menu available from Wednesday through Sunday, 3pm to 5:30pm, after which the patio will serve the regular Farmhouse menu. According to the email, diners can expect “grilled focaccias including Frinata with chickpea flour, pecorino sardo, and olives; marinara with tomato, toasted garlic, and parmesan; fresh-market fish with grilled lemon, capers, and herbs; and, for dessert, a grilled Torta—a wood-roasted tart crowned with ripe, seasonal fruit. Also available is a selection of cichetti (translated literally as “toothpicks,” these are small snacks), including wood-roasted olives, charred peppers, caponata, ramp pickles, mushrooms, heirloom beans, zucchini, anchovy, green olives, veal polpette, baked ricotta.
Okay, admittedly, the Applebee’s association is tragic, but Tarry Lodge had me at the unbuckling the kids thing. This, from Tarry Lodge:
“Announcing Tarry To Go Curbside Pick Up!
Now you can pick up nearly everything on Tarry Lodge’s menu without:
• leaving your car,
• unbuckling your kids,
• turning off your tunes,
• putting on your shoes!
All you’ll need to do is:
1. Call and place your order. We’ll tell you when it will be ready.
2. Pull up into one of the designated parking spots saved just for you in the small driveway on Mill Street between Main and Abendroth*
3. We’ll bring your meal to your car and process your credit card right there (cash is still good, too!)
*We’ll even let you use the parking spot for a few minutes if you want to run to Tarry Fine Wines around the corner for libations to drink with your Tarry To Go.”
(PS: Driving unshod is illegal, and we totally don’t support breaking the law. Unless it’s a vice-type thing. Or, you know, a victimless crime. Or speeding. Or driving without shoes. Or public demonstrations of dissent.)
I don’t know about you guys, but I always feel like a freeloader at those ice cream shops that offer little free sample spoons so people can taste before they buy. Plus, I always seem to get stuck behind some jerk with no such ethical compunctions, who feels entitled to $5 in tastes for his $3 single-scoop cone. The perfect solution is to hit La Crémaillère, where perfect, one-inch spheres of its ice creams are served on tuile cones arranged in a glorious array on a silver, doily-based frame. Look for luscious cassis, rich chocolate, tangy mango,000 and crunchy pistachio. Mmmm.