Ivan Ramen appealed to me the first time I heard about it.
My friend Chris (Vermont native and craft beer connoisseur) told me that there was a ramen joint down in the East Village that often had Hill Farmstead Beer on tap.
For those who don’t know, Hill Farmstead is a gorgeous farm/brewery in sprawling Greensboro, VT, making farmhouse style ales that are highly sought after in the beer community. A little over a year ago, they started distributing kegs of their liquid gold to bars around NYC. And Chris, as a Vermontian (is that the word for them?) tracked their beers on the awesome Untappd app, and saw them keep popping up at Ivan Ramen. A ramen restaurant with amazing craft beer? Where do I sign up?
As it turns out, you don’t have to sign up at all. All you have to do is just go there. So, Chris and I went there, and we had an incredible experience.
If you want background on Ivan Ramen, make sure to check out Chef’s Table on Netflix. Season 3, episode 4 is Ivan Orkin. I don’t want to give too much away, but the episode is exciting, heartbreaking, and beautiful. Go watch it before going to the restaurant. I promise you’ll appreciate it.
Alright, it’s time for lunch. I met Chris around 1 and we walked into the beautiful, Japanese inspired interior, a long hallway with tables on the left, and a sprawling bar area towards the back. The walls were painted light blue, very simple and elegant. We were asked if we had a reservation, which we didn’t, but there were plenty of spots to sit in, so we picked a table and were given the Ramen menu and the drinks menu.
As two craft beer lovers, we both grabbed the drink menu first, and were talking about the last time Chris was there, and about Hill Farmstead. I guess Kat, the manager/ Beer buyer overheard us, and asked if we’d like to come sit at the bar for a tour of the draft list.
Who would say no to that?
Before we get to the Beer, let’s talk Ramen. The menu consists of hot and cold appetizers, and 8 types of Ramen, 4 classic, and 4 are Ivan’s specials.
Chris got the Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazeman, a less brothy bowl with amazingly cooked pork belly and whole wheat noodles.
I opted for the Chicken Paitan, a rich, delicate, salty, amazing chicken ramen with rye noodles and an egg yolk that, when broken, emulsifies with the broth, creating a thick, creamy chicken noodle soup 🍜 that could cure any illness.
Check out that yolk, yo!
We also shared Miso-Roasted Cauliflower with butter, Fresno chilis, and bonito (a cured fish). Oh damn. And Kat gave us a taste of their pickled daikon with fried shrimp and scallion chili oil. Absolutely divine.
Alright, now we’re on to the Beer. The can and bottle list is wild!
Kudos to Kat, who was amazing, for giving us a tasting tour of their awesome draft list.
The highlights of the list were:
Grimm Secret Track, a grisette, which is similar to saison, a farmhouse Beer designed to quench the thirst of all the farmhands. This was dry, grassy, with crisp citrus. Perfect for a hot afternoon working on the farm.
Gun Hill x Ivan Ramen Ivan’s Freestyle w/ Brett: Kiwiberry Smoosh Pink Peppercorn IPA. The Brett really dried this beer out, the kiwiberry added a tropical fruitiness, and the pink peppercorn gave it just a bit of spice. Super intriguing Beer, I believe this was my favorite on the menu.
The entire draft list, though, was fire emoji. Grimm Pop’s are always amazing. Thanks again, Kat!
We also shared a few beers from the can and bottle list.
To Øl Sur New England Shandy. A dry hopped sour (actually, they call it a sour mash session IPA) that was perfectly sessionable and tart.
Maine Beer Company Another One, a beautiful, clean, see through IPA with pine and citrus balanced by a malt sweetness.
And Kat busted out this Tipopils, an ITALIAN PILSNER, one of Kat’s favorite Pilsners. It was clean, malty, with grassy and floral hop notes. Super refreshing, and a lovely way to end the meal. Kat kills it again!
If you haven’t yet, you should put down what you’re doing and head to Ivan Ramen! They open in like, 2 hours (at the time of this writing). Go see Kat. Tell her Benedict Beer Blog (and TigerLyfe Times) sent you! Go, have fun!!
Until next time!