NYC Beer Week 2016 (Feb. 19 – 28) is almost upon us. With less than two weeks to go, it’s time to start planning which beers to seek out, many brought to you by the ever-growing and awesome group of talented New York City brewers. Lucky for all of us, some of us were clued in to what will be pouring throughout the 10-day “week” of incredible local beers.
The recommendations below include beers poured at the NYC Beer Week 2016 press preview held at Flatiron Hall on Jan. 27, 2016. Several of these breweries will also be debuting SMaSH beers on Feb. 19 during the city-wide SimulTap, or simultaneous tapping of State Malt and State Hop beers brewed specially for NYC Beer Week. Possibly the best lineup of these (10 SMaSH beers on tap) will be tapping at Banter on Feb. 19, but you can find them throughout the city and week in small quantities.
Brewer: Big Alice Brewing Co.
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Sweet Potato Farmhouse Ale
Big Alice, Long Island City nanobrewers and last year’s winner of the Rupert’s Cup, will be pulling out two experimental brews for NYC Beer Week: the Sweet Potato Farmhouse Ale and Date Night, Bro?, a rich and roasty American stout brewed with donuts from a nearby bakery. The farmhouse ale has an interesting balance of dry and slightly sweet, and is a good choice for a lighter beer to keep you going in a week of boozy winter brews.
Big Alice is also a SMaSH beer participant, so check their social media for updates on where it’s tapping.
Brewer: KelSo Beer Co.
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Black Walnut Stout
Sonya Giaccobe, co-owner of KelSo Beer Co., spent the past year perfecting the recipe for this easy drinking stout. There were no actual nuts used in the brewing process, so all the nutty flavors you get will be 100% malt bill.
KelSo is also a SMaSH beer participant, so look out for their local rendition of State Malt and State Hop beer throughout the week.
Brewer: Transmitter Brewing Co.
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: BdG 1 Biere de Garde
Although I’m recently recovering from a love spell with Transmitter’s Black Gose collaboration with Willows Family Brewers (of the Prarie Artisanal family tree), the Buckwheat Biere de Garde is a real treat. It will also probably be easier to find as well as easier on the palate for those who aren’t fans of the gose style, which are tart and salty. That being said, if you see the B0, give it a try!
Transmitter is also participating with a SMaSH beer, so look out for that one, too.
Brewer: Rockaway Brewing Co.
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Hawaiian Pizza
As absurd as it sounds, this beer is completely palatable and enjoyable. The Hawaiian Pizza is a recipe of Ray Girard, who does a lot of brewing at Rockaway. The Long Island City brewery is also a SMaSH beer participant so try to find their State brew on tap.
Brewer: Coney Island Brewing Co.*
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Hot Toddy
Eric H., brewer at Coney Island’s new nano-sized brewing facility outside MCU Park in Coney Island, has been up to some crazy cool stuff in that little brew house. This ranges from a Cotton Candy beer perfect for summer strolls, to this very seasonally appropriate Hot Toddy beer, a tasty concoction modeled after the classic hot cocktail. Give it a try and chat with him if you see him, this dude is a genius.
Brewer: Braven Brewing Co.
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Bushwick Pilsner
Bushwick’s favorite brewer boys, Braven are pulling out the flagships for a few fun events this year. If you see them, say congrats on their recent bottle distribution and wish them luck on going forward from beer brand to brewery when they settle into their own location sometime later this year. In the meantime, they’re stuntin’ in some serious merch, so ask about that, too.
Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery*
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Defender IPA
This annual brew is the official beer of New York Comic Con, and it’s being released for the first time for worldwide distribution this year. This iteration is an “explosive” West Coast-style IPA. Grab a bottle or find it on tap before it goes oversees, so you can say you tried it first. Bottle label art by Khary Randolph, of Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
You can also find Brooklyn Brewery’s SMaSH beer at select locations, so keep an eye out!
Brewer: Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
Borough: Long Island
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Black Duck Porter
Long Island may not be an actual borough of New York City, but brewery’s like Greenport Harbor make us wish it were. The Greenport-hailing brewers are bringing back the Black Duck Porter, which has always been a favorite of mine.
Brewer: Keg & Lantern Brewing Co.*
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Go to the brewery!
Anything on tap at Keg & Lantern, the bar-turned-brewery helmed by Patrick Allen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is worth a try and guaranteed to be good. Head to the brewpub (97 Nassau Ave.) any day of NYC Beer Week 2016 (or any week) and try a brew or two, then take home your favorite in a crowler (that’s a can growler). You’ll be back.
Brewer: Greenpoint Beer & Ale*
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Mystery Barrel-Aged One-Off at the Brewery
Also hailing from Greenpoint, the recently rebranded Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. (they have t-shirts and hoodies now, and the adjoining restaurant, Dirck the Norseman will now take their name) is available at a few locations around the city but the place to go for the best sampling of their beers is the brewpub itself. In honor of NYC Beer Week 2016, they’ll be rolling one a barrel-aged one-off only available at the taproom on February 24. What’s in the barrel? You’ll have to go to find out.
Brewer: LIC Beer Project
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Ardent Core Saison
If you haven’t tried LIC Beer Project’s beers yet, it’d be a good idea to do so during NYC Beer Week 2016. The new brewhouse does a lot with Brett, or brettanomyces yeast, which tends to have a reputation of that “horse blanket” funk but in LIC’s case is almost always subtle and slightly fruity. The Ardent Core won the public vote at Jimmy’s No. 43’s Battle of the Belgians event in December, and also raised some happy eyebrows at the NYC Beer Week 2016 preview event last month.
Try their SMaSH beer (along with Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.’s) at the NYC Beer Week SimulTap at Murray’s Cheese Bar, Feb. 19 at 7pm.
Brewer: Bitter & Esters
NYC Beer Week 2016 Pick: Brew on Premisis Brewing Demo
Finally, I am VERY excited to share that my favorite homebrew shop and science guys, Bitter & Esters will be participating in NYC Beer Week 2016 with a few events around the city, kicking it off at their location on Feb. 19. Starting at 5pm, they’ll be brewing up a 15 gallon batch of their version of the SMaSH beer, using the same local ingredients the other breweries used for the SimulTap event happening around the city at 7pm.
*Brooklyn Brewery, Coney Island Brewery, Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. and Keg & Lantern Brewing Co. are all members of the 2016 Brooklyn Beer Book by Brokelyn. Buy editions 11 and 12 and receive more than 60 free beers across the borough.
NYC Beer Week 2016 Preview Slideshow
NYC Beer Week is organized by the NYC Brewers Guild and NYS Brewers Association. The main events planned by the Brewers Guild are posted on the NYCBG website. These include the Opening Bash, Brewers Choice and Cask Fest and Awards Gala. But if you’re looking to try a tantalizing array of fine New York City brewed beers without the tall ticket price, look no further than your local bars and keep up with NYC breweries and the Brewers Guild on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.