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Happy all hallows’ eve Harlem! Now, whether you deserve a “trick” or a “treat,” I will let the ghosts and goblins be the judge. However, I only have treats-on-treats for you. You will find it right here in Harlem, there is a little witches’ “brew” and some hellfire morsels too. They will both get you “my pretty.”
I am talking about the freshman beer bar, Harlem Hops (@HarlemHops, 2268 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, 616.998.3444, harlemhops.com). This team of friends from Historically Black Colleges are doing great things and in “the greater good” ways.
You might remember AmNewsFOOD covering Harlem Hops before their opening last year with pictures of the unfinished space. Well, the finished space is perfect and celebrates what they do and for whom they do it.
I was invited to come down and try out some new menu items and of course taste some (read: ALL) of their locally crafted microbrews and brewers of color beers. I have also been obsessed with getting my mouth on the spicy Senegalese Guma pies. A spicy hand-pie and a draft beer?! What the heck is wrong with that?! Nathan!
I grabbed my ace, Jason, for the experience. Once it was all said and done, he was glad he did not balk. He is a little bit of a spice head.
We strolled in during happy hour with empty stomachs and thirsty mouths. The friendly staff greeted us and asked us to pick from their ever-changing menu of beers, written on mirrored cabinets, which included some notes, pricing, and, my most important, ABV (Alcohol By Volume) percentage. We each selected beers for our flights (a tasting progression) plus a full pint of our choice.
We moved from the bar and the overhead “HARLEM” sign to the small patio emblazoned with a graffiti mural. We settled in and this is when the barrage of goodness started to flow.
We began with their Bavarian soft pretzel and their signature spicy beer mustard or beer cheese sauce. That was good but, baby that beer cheese is LIFE! Jason and I had to ask for more to finish the pretzel. I would have bathed in it if I could.
Next up was something new to their menu, salmon pastrami sliders on a pretzel roll with crispy slaw. They were generous to give us two each…you’ll be happy to know, none went to waste.
Now my Guma pies. We got the lot of habanero beef, chipotle chicken, vegetable and, the dun-dah-dah, crab! Before we knew it, we were both sniffling and wiping our nose in joy then smiling through each gulp of beer. People, this is what food heaven looks like.
Harlem Hops, get doin’ it to it! You know I will be back soon.
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!