What do you drink with steak, when the other people at the table aren’t drinking red wine, and the wine-by-the-glass list is boring? I started with a martini at the bar, and after a few sips, I realized that it was one of those rare beasts — a martini better than most of my own creations. And that is grand praise indeed (the writer says, blushing). So I was primed for an evening of fine drinking, but that was not to be had from the wine list. There are few things that irritate me more than a poorly thought-out wine list. And it isn’t even that tough to create a list that has a bit of spark. But this was obviously a canned list from the restaurant’s distributor. My wife lucked out with a Chardonnay that was quite good, but I was left to fend for myself.
I had noticed a Local 1 Belgian Ale behind the bar, and it intrigued me, but only when I nodded off reading the red wine list did I think about ordering it. It arrived in a 750-ml. bottle, with a cork and a champagne cap. It looked impressive, and when the waiter poured some into a tall glass (faintly irritating in its own right . . . come on, I can pour my own beer). I immediately noticed some interesting sweet aromas. My first sip confirmed it. This was a very sweet beer. But I wasn’t put off by the sweetness. There were other flavors, and some nice bite from hops that balanced the sugar. It stood up to the excellent steak, and the last sip even held its own with the pecan pie. I liked the malty flavors of this beer, and while the sweetness is a bit startling at first, it is well worth trying. But be aware that it packs a respectable punch at 9.0% alcohol.
Brooklyn Brewery makes a fair number of beers, and most of them are worth drinking, or at least trying. Local 1 Belgian Ale is certainly on my short list of interesting beers that I would be happy to see in any restaurant or bar.