The first thing I did when I arrived in Manhattan was, of course, find a local brewery to help me kill the evening. Heartland Brewery, a series of restaurants throughout the city featuring beer brewed in Union Square, offered both great food (Ahi Burger, anyone) and pretty darn good beer. (For those with eagle eyes... that's a pre-release copy of Pro Tools 10 Avid handed out after their pre-AES event).
Heartland Indian River Light Ale- This light, low alcohol offering was crisp and slightly sweet with a pronounced addition of orange juice.
Heartland Cornhusker Lager- This lager, for better or for worse, makes good on its name with creamed corn dominating the flavor. Interestingly enough, the lager seemed creamier in the mouth than one would expect for the style.
Heartland Harvest Wheat Beer- This American-style wheat ale opened with the expected notes of dry wheat and citrus, but took on quite a bit of caramel flavor as it faded. Weird juxtaposition and certainly not something I have encountered in a wheat beer before.
Heartland Red Rooster Ale- This red ale was lightly hoppy and backed by a slightly dry, toasted malt. Interesting take, as I've never tried a red ale with a more English malt profile.
Heartland Indiana Pale Ale- This East coast take on the classic IPA fell flat, in my opinion. An astringent, medicinal bitterness opened and closed the ale, and what small amount of hop flavor was detectable lacked any definition.
Heartland Farmer Jon’s Oatmeal Stout- This stout was very light for style, but pleasantly creamy. The nose carried forward quite a bit of burnt coffee, which was almost undetectable in the taste, which had a strong note of semi-sweet chocolate.
Heartland Empire Premium Beer- Heartland's take on the Czech pilsner stayed mostly true to style, with a bit more sweetness and corn and less peppery hops than most European versions.
Heartland Imperial Pumpkin Ale- Having not tried their standard Pumpkin Pie Ale offering, I can only assume this is the same recipe with about 30% more of everything. Huge pumpkin pie spice in the nose, which was somewhat lost in the aggressively sweet taste at first, but came through strong in the fade. This ale was big, but pretty two dimensional.
Heartland Black IPA- This black IPA, the one I chose to cap my night with, had an oddly light and cloudy color, much like an extract homebrew sitting in primary. A light chocolate backbone supported an appropriately light, if nondescript, bitterness that gave it nice balance. For my money, this is more like a slightly hoppy brown ale than a Black IPA.