Is It Worth Riding the 1 Train Uptown for Craft Beer at Hogshead Tavern?

Craft beer is more commonly associated with hipster-laden pockets of the LES and Williamsburg than with the triple-digited streets of Upper Manhattan. Hogshead Tavern (126 Hamilton Place, 212-234-5411) hopes to change that perception, staking out the vastly untapped region of Hamilton Heights in the name of high-minded suds. The streamlined bar and restaurant — with warm, black-bricked, plaid-floored interior — has already charmed its way into something of a neighborhood staple. But for the faraway folks, is it worth the trek? I hopped on the 1 train to find out.

On its well-maintained website, Hogshead is quick to point out that it’s just a ten-minute ride from midtown. I found that to be wishful thinking, at best. But it is surprisingly accessible from the lower depths of the borough by way of several subway lines. Once inside, I was greeted by a slew of welcome sights, namely: twenty tap handles straddling a concise yet thoughtful platform of craft whiskeys, gins, and vodkas, all bound within a sleek, modish space.

The draft selections are sensibly displayed in large, white marker on transparent glass behind the bar. They’re impossible to miss, which is important, as the taplist frequently fluctuates, sometimes throughout the course of a single evening. Selections range from $6 to $8, mainly for sixteen-ounce pours, and include exclusive craft entities like Great Divide’s unapologetically viscous Yeti Imperial Stout, and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale — a masterfully balanced American IPA. Covering regions as divergent as Newport, Oregon, and Bavaria, Germany, the menu is surprisingly light on local brews — or it was when I visited.

But as geographically and stylistically expansive as the list is, it isn’t a radical departure from many other fine watering holes in more traveled sections of the city. To set itself apart, Hogshead offers unique beer cocktails, a notable weekend brunch, and — living up to its name — an efficient food menu dominated by pork.

Of the eight dishes, built to share and priced at around $10 a plate, only the kale and artichoke dip is devoid of meat — and it could hardly be considered light fare. Although the chipotle BBQ pig wings are notable for the unique delivery of pork attached to a Buffalo wing–like riblet, the bites were somewhat lacking in flavor when compared to the spicy Moroccan meatballs and the crispy pork belly grilled cheese, the former molded from braised lamb and chorizo, the latter enhanced by a sweet onion relish and three separate varieties of melted cheese. Together they were reason enough to rationalize the subway ride.

And that was before the Hogshead Buck, a bourbon and beer cocktail that relies on ginger and blood orange to round out wooded notes of Kentucky whiskey. It’s the standout from a list of four drinks, which should soon expand to feature more beers in cocktail form. The current selections, priced between $10 and $11, are built solely upon either Crabbies Ginger Beer or Crispin Pear Cider.

Well-fed and sufficiently served, I left the Hogshead unable to stomach food or drink for the foreseeable future. I did, however, find myself with a newfound hunger to further explore Hamilton Heights. The new tavern was by no means the first to tap into this neighborhood’s unrealized potential, but by feeding an increasing demand for craft here, it certainly won’t be the last.



Feast On A Home Grown Pig Named King Arthur at Northeast Kingdom

For the past ten months Brooklyn’s Northeast Kingdom has been raising their own pig, named King Arthur. Hopefully they didn’t get too attached because on August 10 they are cooking Arthur and having a nose-to-tail feast. Chef Kevin Adey will be serving 23 courses (appetizers, entrees, and desserts) all made from the pig, with zero waste.

Adey has invited other local restaurants to help out with cooking, serving, and drinks. An estimated 40 people in Brooklyn will be assisting Adey will the pig roast.

From the restaurant blog:

“So what to save from arthur? A 18 month dry cured ham is a must! Maybe a pepperoni, pizza could never taste so good. Tasso ham with a spicy kick? I could go on for days, let me know what you think in the comments. No matter what we choose to age, these tasty bits will be a long lasting reminder of our pig, and I can’t think of any better way of honoring his life than this.”

Dining Room
Dining Room

Tickets are on sale now for $130 and that includes everything: wine, beer, cocktails, tax, and tip. There will be two seatings, 5pm and 9pm. Reservations can be made by calling Northeast Kingdom at 718-386-3864 or by emailing


Bloated Pig/Rat-Monster Washes Up On Shore Of East River

If anyone’s missing a gigantic, bloated pig/rat-monster, it’s been found on the bank of the East River — and it’s disgusting.

The above photo — and others you can see after the jump — were taken under the esplanade along the East River by a woman named Denise Ginley.

It’s unclear what this thing actually is — there’s some chatter that it’s the second-coming of the “Montauk Monster,” which was found washed up on the shore near Montauk in 2008 and determined to probably be a bloated raccoon. This monster, however, looks more like a bloated pig or rat — if you ask us, anyway.

We’re no experts in disgusting, bloated water vermin, though, so we’ve contacted experts at the Bronx Zoo to see if they can tell us what this thing actually is. We’ll let you know what they have say — meantime, see some more photos of this monster below.

UPDATE: An animal expert tells Gothamist — which first reported on this bloated mess — that it likely is a dog. That said, those ears look awfully swine-y — or pit bull-y (we don’t know what the F to think).