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Ask Michael

Joanne Guccione emails from Manhattan: Hello, Just logged on to your website. It's great. I was wondering if you could help me in my own beer hunt. I am looking for a brew that achieves a satisfying volume of alcohol without being so malty and sweet that it leaves me thirsty. Where in Manhattan can I find a good bitter beer? - Joanne.

MJ: I appreciate your raising the question, Joanne. Your inquiry rebuts the sexist notion that women are capable of enjoying only sweet beers.

Have you tried the wittily-named Indiana Pale Ale at the Heartland brewpubs? This Ian a lightly dry, fruity, interpretation of an India Pale Ale. The name metamorphosed from Hindu to Hoosier to suit the Heartland theme of the pubs.

The term India Pale Ale implies the style of brew that was shipped from London and Burton to Calcutta during the British Empire. On this long journey, it was protected against spoilage by an extra dose of hops (which had the side-effect of boosting its bitterness).

Today's American examples of the style are in general much more hoppy than the British IPAs. The Americans have been revelling in the revival of a classic style, while most British brewers have half-forgotten the meaning of IPA. I strongly recommend the Brooklyn Brewery's East India Pale Ale, with arousingly fresh hop flavors.

As a beer hunter yourself, you probably know the following two bars. The Blind Tiger is especially good on beers from the New York area, while d.b.a. likes to feature cask-conditioned beers from Britain.

The Blind Tiger Ale House, 518 Hudson Street (on the corner of West 10th St.). Telephone: (212) 675-3848. Website:

d.b.a. (Doing business as…), 41 1st Avenue (between 2nd and 3rd streets). Telephone: (212) 475-5097.


- Where can I find my favorite beer? - otherwise known as The Irish Question

- Do you know breweries elsewhere in the world who would like to understand the miracle of Bavarian beer?

- Do beers mature with age?

Still more questions and answers from the Beer Hunter.

If you have a question to ask Michael, send it to We can't promise an answer to every question or comment, but we welcome your input and inquiries.

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