A Valentine to Brookyln’s Beer Couples

At BeerAffair, we’re all about love. Love for beer, love for the craft beer and brewing community, and above all, love for the local  brewers who bring us thought-provoking, inspiring beverages to drink and socialize with day after New York beer-loving day.

To honor this growing squad of New York City brewers—namely those in Brooklyn—we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on those who we suspect love each other as much as they love making beer. Continue reading

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

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

Tipsy Turkey and Cranbeery Relish: Cooking With Beer on Thanksgiving

Photo by the Beer Bitty.

Photo via BeerBitty.com: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash tossed in a Warm Bacon and Brown Ale Vinaigrette with Sage and Toasted Pecans.

It’s Thanksgiving week, which means a barrage of recipes and relatives are probably vying for your attention and food coma threshold. To make it a little easier on you, I’ve gone through ladle-loads of beer and food recipes from all around the web and reduced it down to five easy ways to infuse your food with craft brews.

Swap out your usual side dish or soggy vegetable mush with the same dish, only better—because it has beer in it, and making it isn’t any harder than without beer. In fact, it’ll probably be easier because you’ll be enjoying it more while you sip on some extra brew. It’s a win-win. 

With recipes from some of the best beer and food resources—like the Brewers Association’s  Cooking with Beer Recipes (with insider tips from  Julia Herz, Brewers Association craft beer program director and CraftBeer.com publisher), Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Spent Grain Chef, and the Beer Bitty—you won’t regret giving these a try.

Go HAM on 5 Beer-Infused Thanksgiving Recipes  > 

Check them out in my latest beer school feature for Rally by Eventbrite.

 

Featured Image: Chestnut Brown Ale Stuffing by Brooklyn Brew Shop.

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!

 

Hopped Hard Ciders: 6 Recommendations from Brooklyn Brew Shop

In a recent infographic from Brooklyn Brew Shop, the beer making kit company recommends Six Fantastic Hopped Ciders for Fall, geared toward those willing to venture against the grain. The blog post is a perfect answer to beer-lovers’ questions about approaching the apple-fermented beverage, which is often cloaked in mystery yet has been gaining popularity in New York City this fall.

Hopped cider recommendations include:

Nine Pin Cider Works Willsie Dry Hop; Urban Farm Fermentory Hopped Cidah; Square Mile Cider Co. Spur & Vine; Citizen Cider The Full Nelson; Finnriver Dry Hopped Cider; and Brooklyn Brew Shop‘s own Hard Cider Kit and Hopped Cider Refill Pack, which recently became available (along with Sweet and Dry Cider options) on brooklynbrewshop.com.

Check out the infographic below and click to learn more about Brooklyn Brew Shop’s hard cider options. Copywriting by yours truly and graphic design by Brittany Murray.

"Six Fantastic Hopped Ciders for Fall" infographic via brooklynbrewshop.com.

“Six Fantastic Hopped Ciders for Fall” infographic via The Mash on brooklynbrewshop.com.

Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace Kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop

In case you haven’t heard, you can now brew Brooklyn Sorachi Ace at home.

Sorachi-Ace-Out-Now Thanks to a recent collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery  and Brooklyn Brew Shop, brewing novices and intermediate beer makers have an easy route to replicating Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace, a saison showcasing the rare hop varietal of the same name.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is available online as well as at the Brooklyn Brewery gift shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in both kit (ingredients + equipment) and mix (ingredients only) form. Both options pack all the grains, hops and yeast necessary for brewing the esteemed farmhouse ale in your own kitchen, known among hopheads for revitalizing the Sorachi Ace hop, a quirky, long-forgotten varietal originally created in Japan in the 1970s, later rediscovered by a family farm in Washington State in the early 2000s and officially brought back into the spotlight by Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster, Garrett Oliver in 2009.

See what Oliver and Brooklyn Brew Shop co-founders, Stephen Valand and Erica Shea have to say about the brand new release in this announcement posted on Brooklyn Brew Shop’s The Mash today.

Brewing Video Tutorials and Courses on the Cheap (and Free!)

Beer lovers are, more often than not, drawn to the craft beer scene after trying a new style or being introduced to a better form of the beverage. Before you know it, there are tap takeovers, beer festivals, day trips and vacations planned exclusively for breweries and basically, we pretty much have beer on the brain at all times. But even if you memorize every BJCP style guideline and keep up with all the latest trends, the only way to truly know beer is to make it.

If you’re interested in learning how to make beer and don’t have plans for the Siebel Institute or the  International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) just yet, there are several online courses that will accomplish the basic “how to” of homebrewing without the hefty tuition. Here are three that are actually worth considering, both for their content and the cost.

All-Grain & Partial Grain Brewing by Craft Beer & Brewing.

This intro video is only the beginning.

All-Grain & Partial Mash Brewing by Craft Beer & Brewing 
Price: FREE IF ENROLLED BY 8/25, otherwise $24.99, or $9.99/month for access to all Craft Beer & Brewing classes.

Along with publishing a monthly print magazine and regular digital content, Craft Beer & Brewing produces comprehensive brewing basics courses (as well as more advanced techniques) in their online homebrewing education platform. The course offerings range from extract brewing to partial to all grain, and each class offers step by step segments complete with downloadable, printable instructions and checklists for your brew session.

The video/slideshow/handout combo is a big draw for me, so even though I’ve been all grain brewing from the start, I’m registering for today’s free course and considering signing up for the monthly access. (My first foray into flavoring – strawberries and mint sprigs in a summer wheat ale – is currently fermenting, and I’d love to learn more about incorporating fresh ingredients into future brews. The yeast harvesting may have to wait.)

Enroll for the free class here – it’s FREE today (Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015)!

Beer Brewing 101 by Brooklyn Brew Shop in collaboration with Brit + Co.

Look how happy she is after brewing her own beer!

Beer Brewing 101 by Brit + Co. and Brooklyn Brew Shop
Price: $19.99

Cutesy DIY fanatics, Brit + Co. recently collaborated with Brooklyn Brew Shop co-founder, Erica Shea to present Beer Brewing 101, a fun and easy guide to brewing a one-gallon batch of beer. The class uses Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Grapefruit Honey Ale beer making kit, which is also available for purchase at 10% off the original price of $40 when you buy the class for $20. The principles of this tutorial apply to any beer of any batch size, and divided by chapter, the course manages to condense the 4-6 hour brewing process down to less than 30 minutes of digestible, re-watchable content.

Check out Brooklyn Brew Shop’s blog post here or sign up for the class on Brit + Co.

Introduction to All Grain Brewing by the AHA.

Feel the satisfaction and joy of turning grains into beer.

Introduction to All Grain Brewing by the AHA
Price: Free?!

Although they don’t advertise these as brewing classes per se, the American Homebrewers Association is also full of resources and information on how to brew at the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. These include videos, recipes, how-to guides and tips detailing the brewing process from start to finish (with pictures!).  As a member of the AHA, I’m thrilled to discover this – and I’m pretty sure it’s available for anyone to use.

Peek at the “Let’s Brew” section for a multitude of homebrew recipes and free offerings on how to brew.

Learning is cool, go do it!

Cheers,
Beer Affair