Holiday Beers at Haymaker: Sip These Christmas Miracles One Ounce at a Time

My friends, Jimmy and Dee joined me for a tasting at Haymaker last week.

My friends, Jimmy and Dee joined me for a tasting at Haymaker Bar & Kitchen in Manhattan Wednesday evening.

“These aren’t your typical winter warmers,” Tristan Colegrove, bar manager and resident beer geek at Manhattan’s Haymaker Bar & Kitchen, told me as he placed a neat row of six Christmas beers on the bar in front of me. As is proven par the course at Haymaker since its inception in October, the beer bar and gastropub is doing the “seasonal” thing a little differently.

December is winding down its final days, but Colegrove is ramping up his repertoire by including more impressive beers on the sophisticated list than ever before.

Yes, he has De Dolle Stille Nacht, the slightly sweet, boozy Belgian Strong Pale Ale that beer bars clamor to have on tap each holiday season—but then, so do Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village and Brouwerij Lane in Greenpoint.

True, he’s managed to get his hands on two rival brothers’ very different takes on winter ale: Mikkeller Winbic, a blended Spontan Ale and saison from Denmark that you won’t find anywhere else in the city (imported by the Shelton Brothers) and Brooklyn-based Evil Twin‘s Xmas Eve in a NYC Hotel Room, an imperial stout that’s oily, delightfully dry and delicious without being aggressively spiced—but the latter can be found all over Brooklyn.

What really stumped me on the menu — even among such stuff that beverage managers’ and drinkers’ dreams are made of (Prairie Christmas Bomb! Chesterfield Dreams by Other Half and Garage Brewery in Barcelona!) — was La Vermontoise. Continue reading

Ale Street News: The Rise of the Beer Web Series

Chris Bosh and Sam Calagione in That's Odd...Let's Drink It!

Chris Bosh and Sam Calagione in That’s Odd…Let’s Drink It!

The new issue of Ale Street News is out, which means I finally get to share my favorite feature of the year: The Rise of the Beer Web Series.

On assignment from Tony Forder, ASN editor, I had the opportunity to interview Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery founder, about his new web series that launched recently on First We Feast: That’s Odd…Let’s Drink It!

The series opened a floodgate for me, as I discovered a number of beer series across the Internet of Beer landscape: Craftwerk by Munchies (Vice); the Beer Diaries by the eponymous Beer Diaries TV; Beer Artisan by the Foodable Web TV Network. As these series continue to surface, and as beer shows begin to rise in popularity in general, an important set of questions begins to emerge:

  1. Why are beer shows being produced online instead of on TV?
  2. Can a beer show simultaneously appeal to beer experts and beginners?
  3. What will Sam Calagione do next?

Find out on Page 13 of the latest ASN issue, Vol. 24—No. 6: Craft Beer Gone Crazy. Pick one up in a craft beer bar near you—or click here.

Cheers,
BeerAffair

Chatting With Sam Calagione – Craft Beer, Overripe Tomatoes and Controlling Your Destiny

Cheersing Sam Calagione with two of Dogfish Head's latest off-centerd ales.

Cheersing Sam Calagione with two of Dogfish Head’s latest off-centerd ales.

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Calagione, my personal idol and founder and president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, at the premiere of his new web series on First We Feast: “That’s Odd, Let’s Drink It.”

The show, created in collaboration between Dogfish Head and First We Feast parent company, Complex Media, calls together craft beer lovers and pop culture buffs to watch Calagione brew crazy beers with some of his idols, following escapades with unique and unusual ingredients inspired by industries spanning cooking to hip hop.

At the event, which was held at Eataly’s rooftop restaurant and microbrewery, Birreria on Wednesday, Sam ordered me a glass of the show’s debut beer and we talked idols, the importance of creative collaboration, and how to turn rotten fruit into delicious, refreshing beer. Here’s what I learned. Continue reading

#WomanCrushWednesday: Sonya Giacobbe

Sonya Giacobbe and Cat Wolinski at the Village Voice Brooklyn Pour festival, Sept. 2014.

Sonya Giacobbe and Cat Wolinski cheesin’ at the Village Voice Brooklyn Pour beer festival, Sept. 2014.

#WCW: Sonya Giacobbe

Beer Cred:

Sonya Giacobbe is the better half of KelSo, a Brooklyn-based beer company that launched in 2006 with Kelly Taylor, husband and overseer of the Heartland Brewery restaurant group (the “Kel”) and Giacobbe (the “So”) at the helm.

Recently, KelSo was awarded the Brooklyn-Made Gold Certification from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce for producing local ales and lagers that meet the Gold qualifications of being headquartered in Brooklyn, staffed in Brooklyn and most-if-not-all made in Brooklyn. The Clinton Hill-based beer company’s products (KelSo Pilsner, KelSo Nut Brown Lager) are now available on draft and in cans up and down the East Coast from Philadelphia, Penn. to New London, Conn.

Along with co-running the KelSo show, Sonya previously served as director of the Simon & Schuster and Machete Speakers Bureaus of the Greater Talent Network.

Well Said: 

“You don’t need to push the envelope to make a memorable beer. I want to be able to have two beers with dinner and still be able to give my kids a bath.” — KelSo of Brooklyn, Josh Bernstein, Edible Brooklyn Spring 2011: Issue No. 21 

Cheers to that, Sonya!
– Beer Affair

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

Beer Facts: Are you a tegestologist?

I, admittedly, am very “gotten” by brewery swag. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a hulking collection of beer shirts; I own not one, but two pairs of beer socks, neither of which fit me; and on cold, lonely nights, I often find myself admiring the beautiful beer-branded hoodies digitally hanging in brewery e-comm sites.

Basically, I love all of these things, not only because wearing them allows me to share my pride and support for my favorite breweries, but because I’m pretty much clueless about fashion and “beer” is the closest thing I have to caring about a brand. The trouble is, there’s something even more addictive and exhilarating to collect when it comes to beer merch—coasters.

I collect everything from bottle caps to tap handles for various unforeseen projects, and among of all of my obsessions, beermats might be the biggest. I pick them up everywhere, and though I haven’t counted how many I own (probably because I’d be embarrassed of the answer), I can safely say there’s an overstuffed shoebox full of them, and by shoe I mean boot, and by boot I mean they’re also all over my desk, bedroom, boyfriend’s car and kitchen, and that’s after I made everyone Christmas coaster ornaments last year, or several collages for my room, like this one:

Beermats_BeerAffair

That being said, it should come as no surprise that I have a soft spot for Swag Brewery, a company that makes beer-inspired gifts like scented candles, soap and hop candy for beer nerds with spending problems. (I am totally not one of them.) Anyway, today I was checking up on their site to order my next round of scented beer candles (they don’t even have beer in them) and I came across an interesting factoid on the company blog:

BeerFact__Tegestology

Tegestology, a name for my sickness. There’s even a title for its afflicted, “tegestologists.” I checked it out with some expert research (around the Internet), and although there isn’t much literature on the subject, aside from its free dictionary definition (tegestology: the collecting of cardboard beer coasters. — tegestologist, n.) and Wikipedia article (tracing it back to the Latin, though Swag says it’s Greek), I cannot recall a time I’ve felt more redeemed.

Here’s an inexplicable video touting testology from 1960s English comedians, Morecambe And Wise:

I’ll let you enjoy these British brethren on your own.

Your trusty tegestologist,

BeerAffair

Booze News You Can Use: Bars Mixing it Up With Beer Cocktails in Brooklyn

beercocktails1-billbakers-notthese

Can you tell which one of these is a beer cocktail? Bill Baker’s, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Back in the dog days of summer, there was a drinks concept barking up my FOMO tree that I couldn’t seem to shake: beer cocktails. I’d heard of them, seen them, been intrigued by them and even told other people about them, but when it came time to belly up at the bar, I never ordered them. That is, until I decided to write an article about them for Brokelyn, and after some investigative reporting, learned the truth—beer cocktails can be delicious, intricate, interesting and most of all, fun.

My favorite response had to be from Heather Rush, the owner of Pine Box Rock Shop in Bushwick. Continue reading

#WomanCrushWednesday: Christine Celis

Christine Celis (middle) at Clinton Hall, New York City, Jan. 2014

Christine Celis (center) at Pintley’s “(Very) Rare Beer Night,” Clinton Hall, New York, Jan. 2014

#WCW: Christine Celis

Beer Cred:

In January 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Christine Celis at a (Very) Rare Beer Night organized by Pintley at Lower Manhattan’s Clinton Hall. Celis was rambunctious, well spoken and outwardly excited about her recent exploits into gypsy brewing, her beer company in Austin, Texas, the rare Belgian beers she had curated for the event that night, and of course, the legacy of her father, Pierre Celis.

As heiress to one of the world’s most popular beer brands, Hoegarden, Celis had a hand in bringing the Witbier style back to the United States in the 1990’s. Since then, she’s taken over the family brewery, imported an impressive portfolio of Belgian beers, joined up with a brewpub in Austin and sent her amazingly positive vibes into the craft beer and brewing community across the country.

Well Said:

“The thing about success is, sometimes we don’t know how we got there. With failure, you learn a lot. You learn why you failed, how you failed, and how you can prevent the same failures. Then, success just comes.” — Christine Celis – Brewmaster’s daughter, businesswoman and balance seeker, Coffee With a Stranger, melissalombard.com 

Cheers to that, Christine!

– BeerAffair