Heartland Brewery, Oct. 14, 2005

Heartland Brewery South Street At least once a year, almost always in October, I pay a visit to one of the four Heartland Breweries in Manhattan. The last two Octobers, I've gone to the one across from the South Street Seaport simply because of the proximity to my office. My favorite of the four is the Union Square outpost. It's definitely got the best vibe and I'd also say it has the best food of the four.

H.B. is not a true food-lovers destination, and my annual pilgrimmage has nothing to do with their food offerings.
It's all about the Smiling Pumpkin Ale.

According to their website, their "famous autumn colored beer is made with honey-roasted pumpkins and simmered with ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. A sweet and spicy harvest treat that goes down smoothly."

The alcohol by volume is 5.5%, the body is medium/complex, finish is spicy, mildly sweet and smooth and is only available September through November.

The beer really is good, and I think the best beer the brewery offers although the red rooster one is pretty good as well. Some friends enjoy the Stumpkin, a combo of the pumpkin ale and their stout. I've had it and agree its an interesting drink but stick the pumpkin straight up.

As for the food, its tavern food plain and simple, with a few other more modern add-ons in the other locales. The burgers are often fine but nothing earthshattering and the steak sandwich that I had on this particular day was cooked just fine but was more sustenance than exciting or even remotely interesting.

As long as I'm in the NYC area during the Fall months and as long as they keep brewing this beer, I'll be back, even if its just for the tradition.


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