Friday, November 18, 2011

Craft Beer At Nassau Coliseum

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is the 2nd oldest venue in use by any NHL team (the oldest one, MSG, just got an $850M renovation), and is notoriously one of the most depressing venues for so many reasons, not least of which for the team that plays there and the often ghost-town attendance.

BUT, with Rick DiPietro winning games, young talent like Tavares lighting it up, and those raucous games when the Habs fans seem to take over and electrify the entire building, it's not all bad! And one of the most surprising, impressive and delightful new wrinkles that we discovered on our third-ever jitney to Uniondale was the beer!

Maybe replace Goose Island with Southampton? Or Greenport? Or Barrier?
Our bus, sponsored by the Canadian Association of New York City, arrived a bit late, and as we hurried along to find our seats at the end of the 1st period of a Habs visitation to the Island, B.R., always scanning the beer environment, caught sight of a good sign -- "They've got Bluepoint here!"
The odds were (literally) 50/50 that the guy behind us taking our picture was in Habs regalia.
Now, Bluepoint is good. Very good. But for a major sport arena/stadium/coliseum, Bluepoint is like finding water in the desert. We didn't care which Bluepoint that they were serving -- that's what we'd be drinking, in lieu of Bud, Bud Lite, cold-filtered ice-brewed triple-hopped cold-activated lime-flavored whatever, etc.

But when I got to the one stand selling beer that was drinkable, I was confronted with a rare experience at a major sports venue -- a real choice of real beer. Would it be pints of Bluepoint Toasted Lager, Bluepoint Hoptical Illusion, Goose Island IPA, Brooklyn Weisse, Magic Hat #9, or Lighthouse Ale? For some reason George Killians Red was there, too (not an option). But the real beer-option bomb... Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter!
A tap that we've rarely seen in most fancy NYC beer bars, right at home in the Coliseum.
What?! Seriously? A smoked porter at an NHL game? How is that possible? That's nothing short of a miracle. That's a beer that I'm excited about seeing when I'm at Barcade, Blind Tiger, DBA or, really, anywhere. But at an Islanders game?
At MSG these seats 7 rows off the glass would be $500 each. But go 20 miles east, and they're only $60 -- with round-trip transportation! Thank you supply-and-demand!
So, all in all, we split two Capt. Lawrence Smoked Porters, a Bluepoint Toasted Lager and a Brooklyn Weisse. (And a Sixpoint Bengal Tiger on the way there, thank you Cory!) And all of the beers were fresh and in very good shape. Let's hope we get choices like that more often when we go to the big show. Yo, MSG, how about some Kelso Kreik!

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