Saying goodbye is never easy. Saying goodbye with beer makes things… A little bit easier?
At my job, we see people come and go all the time. It’s the nature of the business, and also of living in New York City. People get promoted, move to different stores, or get jobs outside of the company, or they get sick of the subway, the crowds, the smells, etc. This is an almost daily occurrence, so it doesn’t usually throw me off. Then, one person you thought would always be at work to chat with, or share a laugh with, says he’s leaving.
Another one bites the dust.
What does this have to do with beer? Isn’t this a beer blog? Why am I still reading this? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?
These are all valid questions, reader. Oh, and believe me, we’ll get to them…
Beer brings people together. I started getting into craft beer only about 5 years ago, and since then, and perhaps even before then, the industry has exploded.
I got into craft beer working at a restaurant in Astoria, Queens called Il Bambino. We would have weekly beer specials, in addition to the beer on the menu, which included Allagash White, Smuttynose Finestkind IPA, and Sixpoint Sweet Action. What I loved to do, still being new to craft beer, was describe beers by how they made me feel. One night, it was probably in September (seasonal creep was way less of a thing than it is now, where we see pumpkin beers in June and Spring Seasonals in December), our special of the week was Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale. This is an unbelievable pumpkin beer brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and clove. I would describe it to customers, saying “It tastes like Fall in a glass.” One of my fellow servers misheard me, and described it, saying “It tastes like fall in your mouth…” I think she probably sold more of that beer than I did.
Each week brought a different special. My manager (who is now my dear friend) Ryan, would order a different beer every week or two, and we would have a chance to try it, usually after our shifts, when we locked the doors and put on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. (We usually started with “Runaway”, which starts out with a high E played over and over again on a piano, and usually the bottle would be open and poured before the first “LOOK ATCHA!”
While I could credit Kanye with getting me into craft beer, (Yeezy taught me), it was really all Ryan’s doing. Ryan is very smart. He knows what people want. He has really accessible, delicious beer on Il Bambino’s menu, and is knowledgable enough to know what specials to put on that will compliment owner Darren Lawless’ (F)lawless menu of Paninis, Crostinis, and tapas.
I will talk much, Muchmore about Il Bambino in other posts, but this is where the foundation for my love of craft beer began. They just opened their new location on 8th street in the West Village. You really should go there, and their Astoria location, because they’re the best.
So, my buddy Hiten is leaving New York. This sucks. Saying goodbye sucks. But, New York City is a monster, and he’s going to be amazing wherever he goes, which, in this instance, is Tucson, Arizona. I’ve never been there or thought of visiting there. Now, I will strongly consider it.
A month or so ago, he got engaged (!!!) and I texted him to congratulate him on said Engagement. He thanked me, and offered a can of Other Half Brewing and Barrier Brewing Company’s collaboration, called Make It Rain. I thanked him and told him to get back to celebrating his engagement. I just wanted to reiterate how selfless Hiten is.
Hiten also worked at City Swiggers, an amazing bottle shop and bar on the Upper Eest Side of Manhattan. My wife and I joined some of our friends for Hiten’s last shift here, and we had an amazing time, celebrating Hiten’s last night of work doing what he loved, sharing amazing beer with everyone.
Stay tuned for Part Deux of this blog where I promise I will talk about the beer we drank. If anyone listens to the “U Talkin’ U2 to Me?” Podcast, with Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman, they started out wanting to cover two U2 albums per episode, and ended up getting to maybe one per episode (and one episode called Staind Glass, which is an episode about the band Staind featuring Comedian Todd Glass). Anyway, I hope I don’t get as tangential as they do… But I already have, and hey! You’re still reading! So this works! Right?
Anyways, see you next time.