I don’t wanna go down to the basement … unless it’s filled with craft beers themed after The Ramones. Fortunately, an East Village basement bar called Idle Hands (a mere 54 blocks from 53rd and 3rd) really was serving attendees of New York’s first Get Real Beer Week brews celebrating the Queens punk rockers. It’s a sound pairing. In the 70s, The Ramones created a new breed of pop music when it seemed like there wasn’t any room for innovation. In that spirit, four New York breweries experimented with single casks in fun and interesting ways that most beer makers wouldn’t try. Here’s what they came up with:
Blitzkrieg Hop (pictured, above on left)
SingleCut created a very drinkable light and creamy session ale with some slight spice notes. But there’s not much of a Ramones tie-in beyond the optimal name. Though the beer was born in Queens, so there’s that.
Rocket to Avenue B (top right in photo)
Another Queens-based brewery, Alewife Brewing Co., made what they called a dark session IPA. It tasted like iced coffee, which might be something you’d crave after a bender, but it would be hard to hit back several in one sitting. They said “it pairs perfectly with 2-3 minute long punk rock songs,” and that’s an accurate statement.
Sheena is a Pale Lager (center, right in photo)
Butternuts, a Cooperstown joint, came with the strongest pun of the lot, but also the weakest brew — a yellowy lager. This was the 1987 “Halfway To Sanity” of Ramones beers. That is to say, try it once and then you’ll avoid it.
Ryemonda (bottom, right in photo)
The Bronx Brewery threw a bunch of habanero peppers in the mix when making their rye pale ale. Heat built up as you drank it. Ignoring convention and what anyone might think, this is the kind of beer that would hang out behind CBGB in a black leather jacket.
Here’s hoping more Ramones beers come out, or I Wanna Be Your Beerfriend will be a missed opportunity.