83. From Finding ~Your Bar~ to a Very Important Collab, It's a Local-Love Issue
New homes mean new locals; Have a Beer in NYC; plus tarot for meditation and fermentation.
#ISO: A New Local
Welp, I’m settling into my new neighborhood, which has crystallized a truth for many of us, whether beer drinkers or cocktail fans or, regardless of imbibing or not, those of us who simply like a good bar or pub. And that truth is, you’re not really done settling into a new home until you find your new home bar.
A few days before our move, we said goodbye to our local. It’s only about a 45-minute walk from our new place, and not far from where our friends live, so it’s not that we’ll never return. But it will never be our local again. Honestly, we were never as close with the bartender there as Darby was—lolz but true—and as I watched her play with said bartender for the last time before we walked out the door as local regulars, yah, I cried. I hadn’t allowed myself to fully process leaving our apartment and the five years of life that had happened there, and processing that for our local bar kind of became that ritual’s proxy. Saying farewell to a whole five years of life and the home where it all went down was, well, too close to home. Saying farewell to our designated third place was still bittersweet and significant, but not too much to handle. To be totally honest, just writing this, I’m starting to that old familiar “I could cry right now” throat lump, thinking about how just purely fucking comfortable it felt sliding into a table at Skylark. Some may laugh at this, but surely some will also understand: that bar was the first public hangout destination I was ever happy to go to without ~getting ready.~ I’d never gone to a bar or restaurant or [insert non-errand excursion here] without first wanting to ensure I at least had some kind of makeup situation happening. But I’d go to Skylark in sweats. It was an extension of our living room—and realizing that for the first time was when the whole meaning of a third place fully and completely clicked for me.
We are now about a 10-minute walk from so many top-notch beer bars, places I’d commuted to via long walk, train, or Uber from our last neighborhood. BierWax, Beer Street South, Gold Star Beer Counter, Covenhoven—it’s truly an embarrassment of riches. I am definitely not in need of options. But I’m also definitely still in search of that living-room-extension place, where I won’t think twice before entering because I don’t look or feel my best, or because I want to work, or any other reason. Walking around on Sunday, we came upon Glorietta Baldy, a bar I’ve always had good experiences at, and, glad to realize how close it is to the new apartment, we popped in to try it on for size. It’s got all the makings of a good local. A great craft beer tap and can list, but a vibe more laid-back than many ~beer bars.~ It’s never empty but I haven’t ever found it too packed to get a seat. The bartenders are always lovely. It’s cozy. Darby’s welcome. This could be it, folks—I guess we’ll see over the next few weeks. I’m curious, what are the main and most important factors you’ve sought out when looking for a new local?
Have a Beer in NYC
This is a pretty NYC-centric newsletter this week, huh? But this collaboration deserves all the attention and excitement, and I’m really hoping we see more like this. 26 local breweries are participating in the “Have a Beer in NYC” collab, a 7% New England IPA made at Bronx Brewery. Those 26 breweries are 18th Ward, Back Home Beer, Big aLICe Brewing, The Bronx Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, Circa Brewing Co., Deep Fried Beers, Dyke Beer, Endless Life Brewing, Evil Twin NYC, Fifth Hammer, Finback, Five Boroughs, Greenpoint Beer & Ale, Gun Hill, Harlem Brewing Co., KCBC, Keg & Lantern, Kills Boro, Randolph Beer, Rockaway Brewing, Strong Rope Brewery, Talea, Torch & Crown, Transmitter, and Wild East, along with the NYC Brewers Guild. It just debuted yesterday, March 8, in time for International Women’s Day, and is available at Bronx Brewery, Big aLICe, Brooklyn Brewery, Circa Brewing, Greenpoint Beer & Ale, Keg & Lantern, Wild East, Fifth Hammer, Rockaway Brewing, and Kills Boro, plus bars Parkside Lounge, Bar Bayeux, Branded Saloon, Brouwerij Lane, Ginger’s Bar, The HiHi Room, Maite, Northern Bell, Randolph Beer, and Sandy Jack’s.
This initiative was inspired by Beer Is for Everyone’s Drinking in Another State, an open collab in which breweries are invited to brew any beer and use it as a tool to raise awareness for reproductive rights as well as funds for BIFE’s Emergency Health Fund, which provides money and resources for those in the beer and beverage alcohol industries seeking abortion care in states where it is restricted. The NYC beer scene’s own take, Have a Beer in NYC, will also raise money for the BIFE Emergency Health Fund.
Says collab organizer Hayley Karl—of Kills Boro Brewing, and who is tirelessly active in advocating for reproductive rights especially in the craft beer community with events like the Prost Choice monthly benefit:
“After the June 2022 Dobbs decision, myself and others were disappointed by what felt like radio-silence from a large part of the beer world. We discovered a majority of our community was angered by the decision, but unsure how to use their platform to speak out in favor of reproductive rights. And despite living in a sanctuary city, in a state where the right to choose is protected, it is plain to see our community’s rights are actively under attack. There are even more protesters lined up outside our city’s clinics, there are more fake abortion clinics than real ones in the city and a large number of our out-of-state colleagues are in need of resources to seek reproductive healthcare. This collaboration is just the first step in sending the message that the NYC Beer Community supports the reproductive rights of all, that our establishments welcome everyone with open arms, and that we will continue to find ways to raise money to help assist those in need of reproductive healthcare.”
Reading Hayley’s words made me recognize my own disappointment in a lack of a response to this issue from breweries. It’s reminiscent of the frustration many of us feel about the fact that not nearly every brewery jumped to meaningfully participate in Brave Noise. This is supposed to be an industry that is community-minded, that pairs charity and activism with the liquid it creates—without that, the whole “drink our beer, it’s special and independently made and we care, unlike those macro beer brands” ethos rings pretty hollow. BIFE’s Drinking in Another State is an incredible initiative, and it’s one that should be a no-brainer for breweries to join in on. So, on that note, I’m so glad and very proud to see the NYC beer community roll up its sleeves and show it gives a shit. That we are a sanctuary city, and that we have that willingness to care from an industry that has so much potential in raising awareness and funds for good causes, that’s reason for hope. And what I hope most immediately is that Have a Beer in NYC joining Drinking in Another State creates momentum that more beer communities across the country want to get in on.
Go drink Have a Beer in NYC if you can, or tell your own local brewery to get involved with Drinking in Another State. You can also donate directly to the BIFE Emergency Health Fund here.
This week, I pulled the High Priestess.
I am writing this on International Women’s Day, so pulling the High Priestess feels very appropriate. This card speaks to intuition, the subconscious, and unlocking a spiritual, enlightening level of knowledge. The High Priestess is kind of like a magical keeper of secrets about the universe, but she’s generous when it comes to sharing those secrets especially when they can help you understand people, events, and things in a new way, benefiting your own self and growth. Picture her throne on a borderline between the conscious and the subconscious. The High Priestess can guide you in realms of spirituality, meaning, intention, and purpose in order to apply what you learn to your everyday life. She helps you process that things aren’t always what they seem, as well as what they might actually indeed be—for example, maybe you’re frustrated with a loved one for the way they’re behaving. The High Priestess’s appearance now signals that maybe you are about to suddenly stop and for the first time really reflect on what that loved one has been going through, and suddenly, their behavior makes sense, and your new understanding can help you find a path forward with them. (Sure, you could take the High Priestess’s “things aren’t always what they seem” ethos to a conspiracy-theory place, but, you know…maybe don’t.)
Because the High Priestess helps unlock a passage between the real world and the spiritual world, it’s a great time to do certain things if you’re into them, like trying to commune with the dead (oOoOoOoO!) or doing a past-life regression. But, if that sentence made you scoff a “for fuck’s sake” at me, no problem! It’s still a good time to do some meditation, some visualizing for your future, and some overall reflection—right now more than ever could be when you have some impactful epiphanies. On the most basic level, take a cue from this card and be in touch with yourself, from deciding if that big life goal is really what you want to deciding if you really want that third beer. I know it sounds all woo-woo, but communicate with yourself regularly.
When I was looking for a beer to pair this tarot reading with, I stumbled upon this blog post about how the High Priestess would probably be really into fermentation, all the wondrous culinary alchemy and magical-seeming science resulting in a transformative process. So, you could say then that the High Priestess is like a patron tarot saint of brewing! Also, a brewery in Colorado called Mancos Brewing Company makes a Baltic porter called High Priestess, and I think a porter—dark and complex—is exactly what our High Priestess should be.
This Week’s Boozy Media Rec
File this story under “things you noticed on some level but hadn’t yet pieced together and defined as a hard and fast trend.” Daniel Maurer’s “A Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Lobster Roll” for Eater digs deep into the spreading Nashville-as-a-theme that’s been spreading throughout the country, from the why’s, how’s, and when’s to what that actually looks like in a Boston or NYC bar (spoiler: it is cringe) and, perhaps most interestingly and importantly, what kind of impact this is all feeding in Nashville.
Ex-BEER-ience of the Week
I saw “Cocaine Bear” Saturday night which was every bit the wild escapism ride I so desperately needed. And a perfect pairing to a good few hours of fun came in the form of my first double cold IPA at the Sixpoint taproom at City Point here in Brooklyn, conveniently in the same building as our Alamo Drafthouse location. Haters be damned, I’m so glad to see the cold IPA sticking around, getting comfortable on more brewery menus, and seeing some variation in terms of things like ABV.
Until next week, here’s Darby at Glorietta Baldy.