Thursday, August 23, 2007


While the Essex Ale House sadly languishes shuttered up, just round the corner on Rivington Street a new beer bar has appeared. Technically a gastropub, but with plenty of room for non-diners, Spitzer's Corner bears no relation to anyone in government at Albany.

The bar's 40 taps are the main attraction, only four of those are of the global corporate variety. I believe a number of those will be rotating choices, not confirmed as the bar staff were busy but presumed as some offerings are currently summer seasonals. The bottle list currently stands at 32, all of which are quality craft brews. No Bud Light or cheap cans of PBR here!
The airy interior features central long tables and perimiter bench seating. There is a raw fish bar to the right of the impressive tap line for those who like oysters with their St. Bernardus Abt.12.

Spitzer's Corner
101 Rivington Street (corner of Ludlow Street)
Tel. 212 228 0027

Hours: 4pm to 2am (4am Fri/Sat).

Monday, July 30, 2007


The crew at 4th Avenue Pub in Park Slope threw a charity bash yesterday in aid of the lingering and mainly forgotten victims of Hurricane Katrina. Live music, free food, a raffle, an art auction, and a general party atmosphere was the scene despite oppressively humid weather following earlier thunderstorms. As would be expected from this fine beer bar, there was much diversity on tap and in bottles. Kegs and cases of various beers were donated by brewers, including a keg of Nomad Saison Estival - the first pre-production one ever to go out.

Here are a few random pictures (I missed the bands as I was preoccupied with the Nomad keg, which went on late due to a defective regulator).

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Yesterday, Sam Calagione - the genius behind Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - appeared in person at a rather packed Blind Tiger Ale House. Dogfish Head's eclectic and innovative beers are one of the main leaders in the drive for interest in craft beer, at least on the east coast if not nationwide.

The end part of Sam's speech. Go Sam!!!

Deidre and Pam enjoying a selection of the wide variety of Dogfish Head brews available at the 'Tiger.

Oh, and welcome home Dwarbi. I gather there wasn't too much Worldwide Stout to be found in Sydney... :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Jeff Halvorson ('truthbrew' on has, with my blessing, started a new local-focused drinks magazine in Minnesota called The Twin Cities Imbiber.

It is free in local bars, like my own Gotham Imbiber was when I used to do printed copies, and is available for subscription - plus free download of the publication's neatly arranged website. Covering craft beer, coffee, and other beverages, it is informative and laid out well. A must to pick up beforehand if travelling to the area.
[Twin Cities Imbiber]

Not heard of much outside the United Kingdom is The New Imbiber. This is run by Mike Hammersley, Ron Atkins, and David Hughes - it was with the former pair that I produced The Independent Imbiber with for many years, and The New Imbiber is a spin off of that with Mr. Hughes taking over my reigns. It is essentially the same format but with a slightly new name (and restarting at issue 1) as I wished to keep The Independent Imbiber name synonymous with only those magazines I had been putting out (I was the founder way back as a 24-year-old beer geek in 1993, initially using a typewriter and photocopier!). The Independent Imbiber upgraded to typesetting and glossy paper from issue 6 with Ron and Mike joining me; issues 2-5 were produced by me with computer formatting done by Marc Holmes - who is now Festival Organiser for The Great British Beer Festival (no mean feat!). The magazine ran for 53 issues before I decided to call it a day after emigrating from Britain to New York, noting that the internet was catching up with up-to-date beer information anyway so it had been losing ground a little. The New Imbiber, and possibly still some back issues of the Independent Imbiber can be obtained from Beer Inn Print.


The Collins Bar, on 8th Avenue a block west of Times Square, closed its doors for the last time on Sunday. The whole block has been sold for developer's gold, and another nondescript building can be expected to be built there, further dumbing down the area.

Here are some pictures from the last afternoon and evening...

Beer stocks were too low, so two emergency kegs were sourced - the last of many thousands to have come through those doors and down to the cellar.

Tara's dedication to her job of over 5 years meant getting a tattoo the day before!

Apparently the Yankees were doing better than the Collins' regulars.

A non-flash photo of Sabrina catches the mood.

Beer Sensei with A Lees Harvest 2000...

...and a De Proef/Port Signature Ale.

Cindy wanted to buy the place. Nice idea but $50 won't do it...

Owner Dave (on the left) looks melancholy.

Brooklyn Local #1 anyone?

Jaye sporting her Collins shirt.

And into the night everyone went...

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Glastonwick, Adur's annual real ale and music pairing extravaganza, is now in its third and probably best ever home. Originally held in Southwick, and then moving to Shoreham Airport for four happy years, the event this year took place in the idyllic rural location of Church Farm, Coombes - halfway up the winding country road that links Steyning with Lancing College and the A27. The date was the weekend of 15th to 17th June. Glastonwick was conceived in 1996 to be an annual joint beer and music festival with equal emportance given to both aspects. Not a standard British cask beer festival with someone doing Lynryd Skynyrd covers in one corner to little acknowledgement. Not a standard music festival with overpriced Budweiser or Heineken as the only imbibing options. It is the best of both worlds - and a bargain too!

While the Airport was a great venue, the move resulted from additional and costly red tape that would have over-burdened the organisers following the sale of the Airport complex into private ownership. I would like to thank Tom and all the Fly-In Bar staff for four years of solid support for Glastonwick.

Residing most of the year in parts foreign, your weary scribe returns to Sussex every May to seek out the best and most exotic real ales for the event. And, as always, co-organiser and compere Attila the Stockbroker assembles an incredible line-up of talented musicians from around the world. Glastonwick was conceived as a unique celebration of independent brewing and music-making paired up for one glorious event, and the tradition continues annually.

This year's festival had a full music line-up reinstated through Sunday afternoon - it was only possible to have music on Friday and Saturday at the former Airport location. So, 66 cask ales, mainly rare and obscure but with a few local favourites, 12 farmhouse ciders and perries (respectively 640 and 130 Imperial gallons sold!), and 22 world-class musical acts were the ingredients for a fabuluous and multi-cultural weekend. Highlights of the diverse range of talent included - to name but a few - the ever-popular, twice-charting lunatic John Otway, popular London ska outfit The King Blues (now signed to a major record label), old-school punk rockers Verbal Warning, lively Irish "Psycho-ceilidh" band Neck, satirical Canadian accordionist Geoff Berner, sharp ex-Shelley's Children singer-songwriter Tracey Curtis, innovative folk-rockers Geronimo Arkwright, Brighton songstress Naomi Bedford, and the unusual and pioneering punk band Anhrefn - who sing in Welsh!

For ease of getting there and back, a free shuttle bus ran between Portslade, Southwick, Shoreham, and Coombes. The last bus back at night ran through to Brighton. For the first time, on-site camping was available at the bargain price of £3 per person (per night - Friday and Saturday only), and attracted 200 people per night sleeping off the effects of pairing the alcoholic effects of Dark Star Imperial Stout with the audible effects of Geronimo Arkwright, Drookit Dogs and other lively bands.

Hours were 6pm-midnight Friday 15th, Noon-midnight Saturday 16th, and Noon-6pm Sunday 17th. It was incredibly good value: Friday and Sunday sessions being £5 each, while on Saturday for only £10 you got 12 hours worth of beer and music (12 different acts - averaging out at a paltry sum of 83p per performance!).

There was a very healthy turnout, Friday and Saturday being sold out way in advance. A number of would-be customers had to be turned away to avoid a potential chaotic scene with too many inside the barn - which could have happened if the weather hadn't have been good enough for people to wander into the surrounding fields.
Of the 666 Imperial gallons (!) of real ale I ordered, an estimated 640 to 645 gallons had been imbibed by closing late Sunday afternoon. And, after two reorders, all 130 gallons of farmhouse cider and perry had been consigned to history (and the odd visit to the toilet for recycling purposes!). Only a tiny bit of beer was dumped after a frenzy of carrykeg (US speak: growler) filling in the last hour and during take-down.

Thankfully there was no trouble. The only problems were minor: a tree that was damaged (probably by children), and a fence knocked down by the shuttle bus which had become trapped in its tight turning spot by a parked tractor. Everyone there had a great time, including the volunteer staff. Thanks a million to farm owners Jenny and Trevor for hosting our event. And thanks to all who worked, promoted, and volunteered their time!

Glastonwick 2008 will be on a different weekend - 4th to 6th July. Same venue though, Church Farm, Coombes, nestling in the picturesque South Downs just a few miles from Brighton, 50 miles south of London. PLEASE book well in advance though to avoid disappointment! Cheers...

Top Photo: The real cider bar at Glastonwick (Photo: John 'The Vicar' Palfrey).


Friday evening:
NECK Psycho-ceilidh! Supremely danceable Irish rock 'n' reel from Leeson and Co...
PAUL SIMMONDS The main songwriter of The Men They Couldn't Hang, with songs old & new...
ROBB JOHNSON & THE IRREGULARS One of our finest political songwriters...
TRACEY CURTIS Great voice, great lyrics, great songs, ex-Shelley's Children...
GERONIMO ARKWRIGHT Nuts, basically...

THE KING BLUES Hot new conscious rudeboy ska, straight outta Hackney...
DATES (feat. BOB GROVER) Making a welcome return, their debut album is out now...
DROOKIT DOGS Weird, infectious Velvetsesque melodies...
RICHARD STRANGE A rare appearance from the legendary Doctors of Madness and Cabaret Futura frontman...
GEOFF BERNER Bitingly satirical Brechtian accordionist-songwriter from Vancouver...
FRACTURED The Fall meet Magazine at a Nightingales gig...
PHIL JEAYS Midhurst's answer to Jacques Brel!
ALISTAIR HULETT Glasgow's (and Sydney's) foremost radical songwriter, ex-Roaring Jack...
ANHREFN Pioneers of Welsh language punk!
CLAIRE MOONEY Manchester singer-songwriter tells it how it is... ASBO DEREK Half Ban Half Biscuit...

Sunday afternoon:
JOHN OTWAY Return of the lunatic!
THE PRICE Reconstituted classic West London punk...
VERBAL WARNING Tuneful Nottingham punks.


Alehouse 'Translucent Juice' 4.5%
Bells 'Smalley's Stout' 4.1%
Bells 'What the Duck' 5.5%
Beowulf 'Finn's Hall Porter' 4.7%
Blue Anchor 'Spingo Middle' 5.0%
Blue Bear 'White Bear' 4.5%
Bridgnorth 'Apley Ale' 3.9%
Church End 'Bob's Dog Jumping Frogs' 5.0%
Clark's 'Black Buck' 4.0% (mild)
Clark's 'Festival Ale' 4.2% - new recipe with Sovereign hops
Crouch Vale 'Red Herring' 4.5%
Crown 'Black Jack Stout' 6.0%
Custom Beers 'Chinook Best Bitter' 4.2%
Custom Beers 'Quality of Life' 4.5%
Custom Beers 'Tomahawk Strong Ale' 5.5%
Dark Star 'Hophead' 3.8%
Dark Star 'Summer Solstice' 4.2%
Dark Star 'Ginger Hop Godzilla' (Festival Special) 4.2%
Dark Star 'The Brewer's Reserve' 4.5%
Dark Star 'Summer Meltdown' 4.8%
Dark Star 'Sunburst' 4.8%
Dark Star 'Imperial Stout' (2007) 10.5%
Derby 'Hop To It' 4.0%
Derventio 'Emperor's Whim' 4.2%
Elland 'Moonbeam Rider' 4.7% (rye cask lager)
Festival 'Bitter' 3.8% ('Festival' as in the new Festival Brewery)
Fyfe 'Baffie' 4.3%
Glastonbury 'Mystery Tor' 3.8%
Glastonbury 'Summer Solstice' 4.0%
Green Tye 'East Anglia Gold' 4.2%
Hart 'Summer Breeze' 3.7%
Hart 'Cait-Lin Gold' 4.2%
Hopdaemon 'Glastonwick Festival Special' 3.7%
Idle 'Landlord' 4.6%
Isle of Purbeck 'Studland Bay Wrecked' 4.5%
Juward's 'Cleveland Cleric' 4.5%
Leadmill 'Paradise City' 4.3%
Mighty Oak 'Honey Rider' 3.8%
Mighty Oak 'Saffron Gold' 4.3%
Milestone 'Missy Sippy Jazz Ale' 5.5%
Milestone 'Colonial Reserve' 9.0%
Milton 'Doric' 6.0%
Moles 'Sunrise Celebration Festival Organic Ale' 4.2%
Nailsworth 'The Vicar's Stout' 4.5%
Nelson 'Master Mate Dark Mild' 3.7%
Nethergate 'Boneshaker' 4.2%
Nethergate 'Azzaskunk' 4.3%
Oakham 'Mompessom's Gold' 5.0%
Organic Brewhouse 'Lizard Point' 4.0%
Ramsbury 'Gold' 4.5%
Ramsgate 'Summer's Day' 4.3%
Red Rose 'Felix Pale Ale' 4.2%
Red Rose 'Lancashire and Yorkshire Aleway Steaming Premium Ale' 4.5%
Red Squirrel 'Weiss Bier' 5.0%
Red Squirrel 'Sweet Stout' 6.6%
Severn Vale 'Vale Ale' 3.8%
Severn Vale 'Dursley Steam' 4.2%
Sheffield 'Golden Frame' 3.9%
Stanway 'Cotteswold Gold' 3.9%
Stroud 'Budding' 4.5%
Stumpy's 'Hop a Doodle Doo' 4.0%
Stumpy's 'Old Ginger' 4.5%
Teignworthy 'Ebb Tide' 3.8%
Tigertops 'Arrogance 10K' 10.0%
Ulverston 'Desert Son' 3.8%
Wickwar 'Sunny Daze' 4.2% 

Plus 12 or so real farmhouse ciders and perries ( I lost count exactly as we did two emergency re-orders!).


Special thanks to my wife Felice for drawing the logo!