Jimmy’s No. 43 is always No. 1 for beer!

8 Aug

After enough shushing at Burp Castle, it was time for a change of scenery.  One where maybe we could speak at a higher decibel level. 

Next door and downstairs was Jimmy’s No. 43.  The word around town is that the owner, Jimmy Carbone, not only plays a large role in his local community, but also influences the beer trends in the city.  Being one of the founders of the “Good Beer Seal,” (along with Burp Castle and Standings owner Garry Gillis and DBA and DBA Brooklyn owner, Ray Deter), his spot seems to emphasis a unique draft selection and gourmet fare with stress on local.  The bar also plays host to events like $10 Tuesday tastings, biscuit and beer brunch, Thursday night tap takeovers and “meet the brewer” socials as well as paired beer dinners.   

After perusing the diverse draft menu, I asked our friendly bartender, Gabe, what she would recommend.  She responded with: “Jimmy is really into Carton’s Boat Beer right now.”  Well, if Jimmy’s into it, it must be good, was the general consensus of the patrons at the bar, who seemed to nod in approval with her suggestion.  

Unfamiliar with Carton, I noticed the brewery was based out of New Jersey.  “I don’t know,” I said.  “I am not sure if I can like anything that comes out of Jersey.” 

Typical New Yorker answer, I know.  Born and raised in the Empire State, the Garden State often becomes the butt of my jokes.  It’s just too easy.  But before you Jersey-ites start to get defensive, I have to say, I do spend quite a bit of time in our neighboring state and appreciate their arrival to our local craft beer scene, as Jersey has been producing quality craft beer for awhile now, and even hosts some magnificent brew pubs. 

Also, if Jimmy likes it, then it must be good, right?  The Boat Beer is a blonde/golden ale (described as a hoppy Kolsch-style) with a low ABV, perfect for this time of year and great for drinking…well, on a boat.  Or the shore.  Wherever your summer adventure may lead you. 

For those of you not familiar with Jersey, Carton Brewery is located in Atlantic Highlands, which is north of Red Bank (for you Kevin Smith fans) and neighboring Sandy Hook (a favorite beach for some of my friends, especially the exhibitionists).  Technically, you could take a ferry there from Manhattan.  While Carton is popping up in bars and stores all over the city, their brewery may warrant a visit from us soon!

But back to Jimmy’s.  In addition to Carton beers, Barrier Bittersweet Pale Ale and Climax ESB were also offered on tap the evening of our visit (out of Long Island and New Jersey, respectively).  Given the beer selection, Jimmy’s interest in local is certainly apparent. 

When one tap ran dry, Gabe had to text Jimmy for its replacement.  This impressed me because it showed how on point the owner is with his business.  Available any time to text and recommend a new draft?  Sounds good to me.  More bar owners should be this in touch with their staff. 

The replacement draft just happened to be Wandering Star’s Zingari Wit.  While after a snack of Banh Mi hot dogs (delicious, of course, and decently priced at $5 for two) and several beers in, my tolerance was telling me go home but my heart was telling me one more.  I’m really becoming a fan of Wandering Star and alas, could not resist!

Light and sweet, hazy straw-yellow in color with a rich, foamy head, the Zingari Wit was citrusy and flavorful with hints of coriander, clove and ginger. 

Now that I’ve visited two of Manhattan’s longest running craft beer bars and originators of the Good Beer Seal, I have a good base in which to compare other beer bars.  While midtown standards like Rattle ‘N’ Hum, The Ginger Man, and The Pony Bar are always great to revisit and check out what’s currently on tap, downtown staples like Burp Castle and Jimmy’s No. 43 continue to push the bar and influence new beer bars all over the city.    

Jimmy’s No. 43 is small, so I could see the place getting pretty crowded on the weekend and after work hours, but once in awhile I think it’s a good idea to stop in and see what Jimmy’s drinking.  


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