Beer Dates: Gramercy Tavern, 1993 Courage Russian Imperial Stout

imageGramercy Tavern is a New York institution, a place to celebrate special occasions, a culinary treat to say the least.  Revered for it’s wine list, but its beer – wow, who knew?  Turns out my date for Saturday night knew.

There’s literally nowhere else I’d rather be than cozied up at the corner of the bar on a chilly January night with a well curated beer list and a cheese plate.  While the tap list and domestic craft bottle selection is solid, the true gem is the Vintage Beer list (which included Thomas Hardy’s and Courage Imperial Russian).  The collection of vintage beers, housed in the cellar, is comprised of a large range of truly rare beers, many sourced by private collectors and acquired by the restaurant.

Jumping right in with the Courage, It didn’t take long for our bartender to realize our motivation for the evening.  Conversation, including one of the most amazing freudian slips I have ever witness, ensued.  Between his recommendations and those of manager and beer program coordinator, Brittany Tinelli, we had 3 beers served with amazing attention to detail, and a great start to the new year.

Goose Island Nightstalker Imperial Stout, 2010 vintage: Brewed before Goose Island’s acquisition by AB In-Bev.  Thick, dark, viscous, roasty.  Goes down smooth.  Cocoa, vanilla, molasses and dark fruits.

Hitachino Commemorative Eisbock, 2012 vintage:  Hazy, a hint of hops with a nice malty backbone.  Some nice spices – nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon.  Citrus and dark fruits.

Courage Imperial Russian Stout, 1993 vintage: Tasting this was truly an experience, having heard so many people claim it’s the “best beer they’ve ever tasted” and knowing that it is notorious for aging well, I can say that it did not disappoint. So much sweetness, quite a bit of sediment at the bottom of the glass.  Dark malt, strong dark fruits, a hint of honey balanced with a hint of sourness from the brett which was unexpected.


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