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January 25, 2010

Sipping Clipper City cask ale in New York City

the pony barAs I mentioned earlier, I spent the weekend in New York City visiting friends. I love New York.

Friday night, we were hanging at a Hell's Kitchen watering hole called the Pony Bar (pictured).

Drinking in New York has its ups and downs: There are thousands and thousands of cool bars to choose from, but on the whole, drinks are a lot more expensive up there. Not so at the Pony Bar.

All of the Pony Bar's 20 drafts were $5 each, all the time. Except at happy hour, when they're $4. The bar had a rustic feel, with wood everywhere and wooden barrels in the middle of the bar. Friday night, it was full.

I scanned the draft list, and was about to order a brown ale when I spotted a sign for cask ales. Lo and behold, one of the casks was Clipper City Loose Cannon -- one of my favorite Baltimore beers ...

I hesitated before ordering one, though. I mean, I was in New York, in a bar with a ton of great drafts. Why should I order a Baltimore beer there? But I had never tasted Loose Cannon from a cask (casks are hand-pumped, not carbonated and typically served close to room temperature). So, after a minute of intense internal deliberation, I got one.

From the cask, Loose Cannon tasted hoppier, with almost citrusy notes. To be honest, I didn't like it quite as much as regular draft Loose Cannon.

The service, however, was awesome. The bar was slammed, but the bartenders made eye contact with me when I walked up, and told me they'd be with me in a minute. A minute or two later, they were. Why can't more Baltimore bars be like that?

Still, it was pretty fun drinking a Baltimore specialty beer in a New York City bar. When I got my check, it was only $30. For six beers. Dee-licious!

(Crappy cell phone photo by moi)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:04 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Useless. Picture.

There are cheap beers to be had in NYC! You just have to really search and maybe head out to the outer boroughs. Next time you go head out to the Mars Bar or the Blarney Cove in Manhattan for your inexpensive drinking needs. Your cleanliness needs may not, however, be met.

You know if you were worried about expensive beers, you should have just found a bar with promotional girls buying beers for the customers! LOL

Enjoy it while you can, Sam.

Next time you won't even be able to read the humongous name on the tap:

Heavy Seas Pyrate Fleet Loose Cannon Cask Ale !

@Josh -- Unless I can drink off the floor, I'm not going there.

@MIke -- I can't even find that in Baltimore.

@Bryan -- Maybe I'll start my own brewery -- Sam Sessa's Salacious Suds and Such.

Cask-conditioned Loose Cannon might be one of the greatest beers anywhere. Not just saying that because it's local and I enjoy their beer, but it's just that amazing. Most beer geeks will tell you the same. Great choice Sam and nice find!

you really should have some sort of standard for the photography you use on your blog. That picture is embarrassing

Leave Sessa alone Ansel Adams.

I am thinking Brad is some type of promoter or employee of Clipper City High Seas Pirate Fleet Mutiny Jack Sparrows ect Brewery..

On a side note if you want some cheaper beers in NYC, go hang out in the East Village near Avenue A there is some cool bars down there with cheap prices and they usually play good music, live music,or have old time jukeboxes with some interesting selections.

Drunk Richard, I would have had a better photo, but the Midnight Sun Camera Crew was busy trying to hunt down Bud Light Girl, paparazzi-style.

I'll step up and vouch for Brad. Learn more about him here:

It's just a coincidence that Clipper City's casks are out-of-this-world good and he happens to be a local beer blogger.

Clipper City is doing a beer and chocolate ladies only event... how exciting is that? Their new regional sales guy was at Chesapeake Wine Co. a few wednesdays ago-- there is a lot of exciting stuff happening with their brews this year-- although once you do beer, bacon & pirates-- how can you top that?

Hey, I'm hitting NYC in March (the weekend after St Patty's Day) with some buds and staying around midtown in Manhattan -- anyone know a couple good spots they'd recommend? We're more the good beer/pub crowd than fancy drinks/clubs. Cheap would be good, but would also be looking for a place that is fun and lively. (Joe, any specific East Villages places on Avenue A come to mind?)

Clipper City is doing a beer and chocolate ladies only event

Nice. I love chocolate ladies.

Without going into too much detail, If you are interested in going out in the East Village ... check out Niagara Bar it's owned by Jesse Malin a musician is great friends with Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen..the downstairs is cool

Doc Hollidays is a fun little Bar to stop in for a drink or two def feels like a honky tonk bar, its right up the street from Niagara

The Bowery Electric is supposed to be cool as well from what i have heard althought I have never been there.

HiFi is laid back local hangout, their jukebox has just about everything

Black & White another cool simple place no thrills

Lakeside Lounge usually has some live music from time to time, if they have some bands playing might be worth checking out

Here's a link you might find useful for some other places

for the places named just try google map their locations...Also try to make it over to st. marks place which is in same area thats the street that has buildings features the album cover of led zepplins physical graffiti.

I could go on, but do a little research it still has a real nyc feel to it down there in East Village compared to midtown which is like disney world, its only like a 10 buck cab ride from midtown as well

Thanks Odie B.

Although anyone who slams another for talking up quality local beer and follows with, "if you want some cheaper beers...", is obviously not a fan of good beer.

The cheapest place with the best beers was the bar to the left of the Beacon Theatre (Broadway btwn W 74th and W75th). $10 pitchers of Brooklyn!

Seriously, WTF? You had to try that in NYC because you've never had cask Loose Cannon here in Crabby Charm City? You're not trying very hard, mate. Seriously. Loose Cannon firkins have crossed my path fairly routinely, maybe every two months or less, and I'm not even trying to find tham, just any good beer. Heck, look at this blogpost from last April:
Frankly, if I were in NYC, I'd be focusing on the beers that I can't get in baltimore--and there are a few, such as Sixpoint. But good on you for "supporting the home team." Now, Kelly, add this chap to your e-mail list and notify him of the next firkin of Loose Cannon to get out!

@Alexander D. Mitchell IV -- Hahah I love your blog post. It's not like I've avoided it, it's just that a cask of Loose Cannon and I have never crossed paths. I'm more about finding cool bars than cool beer; more of a music snob than a beer snob. But I'm working on the beer snob part. Don't worry.

The United Beer Enthusiasts of Baltimore will be most happy to assist you in the endeavor of craft beer education and enthusiasm. For starts, you are asked to appear tonight between 6 and 7 PM at Max's Taphouse, upstairs lounge, to join us in partaking of some excellent drafts from The Bruery of California. Barring that, if you want to stick to the local stuff (as well you should, if only for your job description), you may partake of cask-conditioned Oliver's Scottish Ale at both Max's and the Pratt Street Ale House, both with discounted prices tonight ($3 for the PSAH, maybe the same at Max's?).

You can always go to the brewery and take the tour on Saturdays - they have samplings and there is always a firkin of Cannon available. I go every Saturday, but I try to wear different mustaches so they don't recognize me.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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