2016 Update: Girl Scout Cookies and Craft Beer Pairings

Photo via beerandbrewing.com.

Craft Beer & Brewing recommends cookies and stouts. Photo via beerandbrewing.com.

It’s always a fun time of year when the Girl Scout Cookie craft beer pairings come out. I was a Girl Scout for many years (like, the most years — all the way up to the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting — that’s right, I am that cool) and the posts that pop up every winter leave me both salivating and nostalgic.

Craft Beer & Brewing always has a well-produced (and I trust, well-tested) list of Girl Scout Cookie pairing selections, and their 2016 rendition is no different. The key takeaway is that basically any GSC (that’s Girl Scout Cookie) will be delicious with basically any strong stout, but there are certain nuances to be attune to. Like… Continue reading

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Honey in Beer Does Not Mean Sweet Beer

BBS_GrapefruitHoneyAle

Photo via BrooklynBrewShop.com.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been helping out Brooklyn Brew Shop at the Union Square Holiday Market by womaning the booth and selling beer making kits to tourists and local shoppers. Something I encounter regularly is an immediate opposition to the Grapefruit Honey Ale beer making kit, which suggests the addition of grapefruit peel in the boil and adds in a little extra honey to the brewing process. The result is, according to Brooklyn Brew Shop, a “Light and refreshing citrusy ale for those who love bright beers. This pale ale gets most of its grapefruit taste from its hops, but throwing in some grapefruit rinds is a fun way to pump up the citrus.”

Right away, though, shoppers say things like, “oh, no, he would hate that,” or “my Dad doesn’t like sweet beers,” or “this is for a guy, so that won’t really work.” The point of this post is not to combat the inherent and infuriating sexism I’ve encountered every Monday and Tuesday evening in the booth—that’s a post I’m planning for after I’ve had a chance to cool down—but the PSA I do want to announce is this:

Honey used in the brewing process does not mean the beer is going to be sweet.  Continue reading

Beer on the Table: Coney Island Brewing Company Trio

Coney Island Brewing Co.'s Hard Root Beer, Overpass IPA and Freaktoberfest.

Coney Island Brewing Co.’s Hard Root Beer, Overpass IPA and Freaktoberfest.

Recently, we sat down with three beers* from Coney Island Brewing Company: the Hard Root Beer, Overpass IPA and Freaktoberfest. It’s worth nothing that this tasting took place before Coney Island opened its new brewery and taproom on Surf Ave. last month, and these beers tasted completely different than the fresh-brewed beers we tasted on site.  Continue reading

Midtown Manhattan’s New Beer Haven, Haymaker, Puts Chelsea on the Map of Craft Curated Taps

Tristan Colegrove, bar manager and David Smith, owner (Jeff Anzulewicz, partner, not pictured) at Haymaker

Yes, there are great beer bars Midtown Manhattan like Pony Bar, the Ginger Man and the Cannibal. But the strange pocket that is upper-middle-Chelsea-near-Penn Station, laden with overpriced Irish pubs, sub-par barbecue and the double-whammy of commuter and tourist crowds, is not exactly an area I recommend venturing to. That is, until now.

Haymaker Bar and Kitchen is a gastropub that recently opened on W 29th Street (by 8th Avenue). At first glance, it’s nothing out of the ordinary: hard wood floors; bar stools; booths; a few anybodies scattered at the bar (in other words, no identifiable hipsters or business men). Sleek, simple, and calm. But feast your eyes on the beer menu and that perception starts to change.

Tristan Colegrove, bar manager and fresh beer aficionado, excitedly curates a list of hard-to-find, hard-to-pass up American craft brews, with a focus on IPAs, dry-hopped sours and saisons—largely the fetishized, though not to a fault—the menu is varied and accessible (and the atmosphere unpretentious) enough to please any beer nerd and convince any newbie. Some approachable options geared toward normal people and happy hour include Southern Tier pilsner and Finback, but in general, Colegrove said, “I want to sell awesome beer. I want to sell the best beer ever.”  Continue reading

First We Feast Debuts ‘That’s Odd, Let’s Drink It!’ Web Series Starring Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, food-meets-pop-culture blog, First We Feast launched its first official web series, “That’s Odd, Let’s Drink It!” starring Dogfish Head Craft Brewery founder and president, Sam Calagione. The six-episode series follows “fearless brewer,” Calagione as he makes, well, “odd” and inventive beers with a selection of pop icons spanning a variety of creative industries.  Continue reading

Your Personal Halloween Variety Pack of Craft Beers

Goblins, Gould and Gourds – a guide to scary good beers for your Halloween 12-Pack

Humboldt House Jack O' Lanterns

These are gourds. They might also be goblins or ghouls.

Halloween is prime time for scaring your friends into drinking devilishly delicious craft brews. This Halloween Variety Pack should help you bring that house party to the next level. Consider each of these bottles a love potion that will convert the non-believers to craft—forever. Get the full guide on Eventbrite.com/Rally.   Continue reading

Harbor Brew Fest Hits a Home Run With Connecticut Craft Beer Offerings

Half_Full_Brewery_BeerAffair

On Saturday, Oct. 17, Connecticut craft brewers and out of town favorites filled Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Ballpark at Harbor Yard for the fourth annual Harbor Brew Fest. The high-spirited beer affair brought brew-loving locals the the latest craft concoctions from area favorites like Two Roads Brewing Co., Back East Brewing and Half Full Brewery, along with a impressive selection of food truck fare and live entertainment.

With local breweries joined by a selection of widely known Northeast, West Coast and international brands, the fest provided an impressively diverse selection—and proved that Connecticut brewers are standing up to the challenge of creating unique, experimental and well executed ales and lagers. Continue reading

Beers to Drink and Brew this Fall: 5 Styles to Try and 5 to Make

I recently worked on two fall beer guides for craft beer novices and not-obsessed-but-interested drinkers. The first, published in Rally by Eventbrite, is a guide to popular beer styles that show up this time of year, along with specific suggestions of easy-to-find beers that also happen to be a few of my (approachable) favorites. The other, published in The Mash by Brooklyn Brew Shop, is a quick list for homebrew hopefuls who are looking to get their feet wet (or their brew boots wet, if they’re so experienced) with a few small batches this season.

In “Your Fall Beer Flavor Guide: Sip, Drink, Chug (No One’s Here to Judge)” AKA “Why You’re a Sucker if You Don’t Drink Spice Beer,” I walk through five craft beer styles that tend to hit the shelves as the summer transitions into leaf-falling, apple picking, hanging-out-in-bars-without-feeling-your-face-melt-off season:

  • Oktoberfest and Festbier
  • Pumpkin Beer
  • Harvest Ale
  • Herb and Spice Beer
  • Hard Cider (not beer, but see explanation in the post)

And since they’re psyched to spice up the season DIY-style, this Brooklyn Brew Shop list of “5 Fall Beers to Make Now” includes beer making kits and mixes that are perfect for fall imbibing:

  • Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace
  • Rye-PA (Limited Edition)
  • Blackberry Red Ale (Limited Edition)
  • Chestnut Brown Ale
  • Chocolate Maple Porter

Of course, these are all great beers to drink or brew any time, but it’s always fun to get festive when the options are as vast as they are!

 

Brooklyn Pour 2015: New Venue, New Vendors and New Favorites

At the fifth annual Village Voice Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival, held this year at the new Brooklyn Expo Center on the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2015, three things were clear: 1) New York City’s craft beer appreciating community continues to grow; 2) local and regional breweries are matching that growth with innovative and on-trend beer styles; and 3) Skylight One Hanson will be deeply missed.

Mug holdings contest

A mug-holding contest at the Sam Adams booth put Brooklyn Pour goers’ stein hosting strength to the test.

New Venue

The Brooklyn Expo Center on Greenpoint’s Franklin Avenue is everything you want in an event space: vast, well lit and high ceilinged, the venue has plenty of room to accommodate a growing list of brewers, attendees and sponsors, with photo ops aplenty, back patio space with skyline views and well-managed bathrooms to boot. However, those who have attended the Brooklyn Pour in the past know that this venue is no match to the art-deco masterpiece that is Skylight One Hanson in Fort Greene.

Plenty of distractions bordered the expansive space, inside and out: a photo booth for friends to pose and hashtag (complete with sponsored backdrop) hung in the front; tables touting contests and giveaways mirrored brewers’ coolers along the sides of the room; a mug holding contest sponsored by Sam Adams brought brawny bros to the rear; and a personal favorite, a Whole Foods-sponsored “Mix Six” pack photo op floated in the back of the room, beckoning grown men and women to slip into its shoddy cardboard hug (Halloween costume, anyone?).

Whole Foods Mix Six

Build your own custom six-pack of friends. This makes a great Halloween costume for beer buds!

Cold brewed coffee (Califa FarmsGrady’s) and scotch liquor tables (Aberlour, Jameson Caskmates) beckoned bean and booze hounds to the back of the room, providing a fairly welcome, albeit unnecessary alternative to the 125+ beer options available.

Liquor libations

Aberlour single malt whiskey (above) and Jameson Caskmates tastings were also available at the Brooklyn Pour.

Other than liquid libations, the Brooklyn Pour offered attendees food options on the outside patio — Nuchas, Papaya King and Coney Shack stood in front of the neighboring building, while Keste grilled cheeses and Zum Schneider brats and pretzels stood in tents closer to the building — but the options and seating seemed oddly limited in the massive amount of space. A few more tables and trucks would have transformed the area into a welcome respite from imbibing and bumping elbows.

New Vendors

Nearly 70 breweries were in attendance at this year’s Brooklyn Pour (a total of 67 were confirmed at press time), with 25 making their Brooklyn Pour debut. These included: Allagash Brewing Company, Anchor Brewing Company, Angry Orchard, Aspall, Austin Eastciders, Barrier Brewing Co., Big Alice Brewery (VIP only), Downeast Cider House, Fentimans, Fire Island Beer Company, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Iron Maiden, Kronenbourg Brewery, Lost Nation Brewing, Newburgh Brewing Company, North Coast Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewery, Samuel Adams, Sixpoint Brewery, Speakeasey Ales and Lager, St. Feuilliens, SweetWater Brewing Company (VIP only), War Flag Brewing Company, and Weihenstephan.

Breweries represented last year who did not return in 2015 included a total of 35: 508 Gastrobrewery (now closed), Ayinger, Bayou Teche, Bear Republic, Boulder, Brewery Ommegang, Broken Bow, Bronx Brewery, Crispin Cider, Dyckman, Founders, Goose Island, Grimm Artisanal Ales, Gun Hill, Harlem Blue, Harlem Brewing Company, Ithaca, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Lake Placid Brewery, Lindemans Brewery, Magic Hat Brewing Company, MOA Brewing Company, Original Sin, Radeberger Brewery, Radiant Pig Craft Beers, Rekorderling, Samuel Smith, Saranac, Shipyard Brewing Company, Sly Fox Brewery, Steadfast Beer Co., Stevens Point Brewery, Transmitter Brewing, Wolffer Estate Vineyard and Yonkers Brewing Co.

New Favorites

Disclaimer: we were not able to make it to every booth. That being said, we have an eye for interesting brews, and these were some of our new and noteworthy favorites.

BKPour2015_Barrier

Barrier Brewing Co. Red Button Imperial Red Ale

 

Eataly

Birreria Eataly Strawberry Blonde Cask Ale

 

 

Rockaway Brewing Co. NY Pharm (and Justine!)

Rockaway Brewing Co. NY Pharm

Rockaway Brewng Company NY Pharm

 

Lost Nation Mosaic Single-Hop IPA

Lost Nation Mosaic Single Hop IPA

 

Weihenstephaner

Weihenstephaner

Crow Weiss

Comet Weisse

Weihenstephaner Comet Weisse

 

 

Third Rail IPA

Third Rail Beer Skyland IPA

 

 

Oskar Blues John

Oskar Blues IPA 

 

Finback Brewery

Finback Brewery Close of Day