As a former bartender at Massapequa Park’s The Good Life — one who struggled immensely when confronted with the task of, well, anything other than pouring beers — I can confidently attest: The bar’s basement is a winding wonderland packed with rare and vintage kegs, some even cellaring since its opening in 2010.
I recall gleefully volunteering to restock inventory during my shifts, including changing any empty kegs, and I would always “get lost” before ascending the basement’s narrow staircase to return to the oft-bustling scene above; I wanted to explore the stash! I also wanted to drink it!
The Good Life is presenting a rare opportunity for both on April 19 with Beer & Bite. The event, hosted at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh and limited to only 250 tickets, will feature 30 beers. “Most of them vintage, all of them are rare,” says co-owner Peter Mangouranes. They will be served in groups of five every half-hour and paired with “bites.” Each ticket guarantees pours of the entire trove of goodies.
“Some beers need years to reach their full potential, but also one of the great things about aging beer is to see how it changes,” Mangouranes adds. “It can develop further and become totally different. This event will showcase that and essentially showcase beer’s beauty and complexity.”
Here are three of Mangouranes’ favorite beers reserved for Beer & Bite, and how cellaring may have altered them:
1) Founders KBS (2011): This is a delicious bourbon-barrel aged imperial stout right off the gate, no denying that. And given its limited availability each year, it’s difficult to tuck this away and “forget it,” essentially. But given time to age, especially for four years, it’s so worth it. The time allows the bourbon “heat” to smooth out and soften a lot. The beer has more of a rich, chocolate pudding quality and much more drinkability, if that’s even possible..
2) Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (2011): You normally don’t age IPAs, but given the extremely high alcohol content — 18.0 percent ABV!!! — you can with this beer to achieve great results. Now, this is a beastly IPA, but what I’ve noticed from the other times I’ve aged this is that the intense hop notes will really fade away, allowing more citrus, candy-like sweetness to come forward. I guess the way to describe it would be like a beer Grand Marnier. The result is a delicious liquid, perfect for sipping slow.
3) The Bruery Sour in the Rye (2013): I love aging sour beers because they’re brewed with wild yeasts, and those can take a while to reach their full potential; Sour In The Rye falls in that category. The sharp acidic notes found in this puckery and funky ale will tone down a touch given time, and everything seems to blend together harmoniously. It becomes much, much more balanced.
Tickets for The Good Life’s Beer & Bite are $100; buy them here.