NYC Beer Bar: Rattle N Hum

Michael Donato, August 23, 2013

Rattle N Hum is a beer bar located on 33rd street between Madison and 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. As is typical of many New York establishments, it's a narrow place extending pretty far back. There's a bar on the right and a fair amount of seating in the back. In layout it looks much like many other bars you can find on any corner around town, but Rattle N Hum boasts an excellent and ever-changing beer list, seeded in part by weekly tap-takeovers on Tuesdays. I'm particularly excited to see what shows up when Founders is there on the 27th. 

Rattle N Hum is on my way to the train from work, so if I take the scenic route and time it right I have time for a quick beer before heading home. As such I've stopped in a couple of times and tried something new and different each time. During my last trip I decided to try Jolly Pumpkin's Weizen Bam (2.4 BAR). The beer was a light yellow color, and slightly cloudy as if a million little air bubbles lurked inside. It smelled particularly yeasty with a little hint of fruit. I'd describe the flavor as more tart than sour, like a crisp green apple. It's light with a present but small mouthfeel and goes down easily with a bit of bread on the aftertaste. It didn't wow me in any way, but it was a good beer that I would enjoy again on a day I was looking for something light, crisp and refreshing. It was a nice day, so I drank this one seated at the barrel near the open front of the bar, staring out at pedestrians on 33rd street. 

Another time I tried the Chai Porter by Smuttynose Brewery (Non-Chai base has a 2.25 BAR), which was excellent. It was on cask, and it was rich and full-bodied, with the aftertaste of a good cup of tea. Very different, and I appreciated that. 

I had the Brown Bag #2 Bavarian Smoked Brown ale by Long Trail Brewing Company (-0.99 BAR), another beer I happened to really enjoy. I'm a big fan of smoked beers, and this didn't disappoint. It wasn't too smoky and boasted a rich brown ale base. I would describe it as almost juicy in flavor.

Another time I had the Oatmeal Milk Stout by River Horse Brewing Company (0.66 BAR), a local brewery to New Jersey. I've had this one previously, even mixing it with ice cream and whiskey to make Irish Car Bomb milkshakes. This time I savored the milky smooth taste of the stout by itself.

Rattle N Hum has an interesting chalkboard on the wall when you walk that's a helpful guide to craft beer. It maps macro beers you might normally drink to a craft beer substitute you should try. This is a much friendlier way of saying, "We don't serve Bud here." 

The place always seems to have a nice crowd, and the rotating taps that always have something new and amazing make Rattle N Hum one of the best places to go in New York for quality craft beer. Who knows, maybe you'll even run into me enjoying a post-work beer.