3 Brooklyn Beers Make Men’s Journal ‘Best Beers in the World’

It’s always fun to read “best beers” lists, but it’s especially exciting to see your own local breweries floating to the top of beer media’s best picks from around the globe.  In this year’s 100 Best Beers in the World from Men’s Journal, three beers from New York City-based brewers made it to the list of the world’s finest, and all three of them were from Brooklyn. Continue reading

4 New York Craft Brewing Companies Make U.S. Top 50

The results are in—the Brewers Association (BA) today announced the top 50 craft brewing companies and top 50 overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume in 2015. According to the BA, 43 of the top 50 overall brewing companies were craft brewing companies, showing that craft breweries “continue to open new markets and expose beer drinkers to a variety of fuller-flavored styles and offerings,” Bart Watson, BA chief economist, said. Additionally, four New York brewing companies made it to the Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies in 2015.

New York Craft Breweries in the Top 50

  • Brooklyn Brewery of Brooklyn, New York at no. 12 (compared to no. 11 for 2014);
  • Duvel Moortgat USA of both Kansas City, Missouri and Cooperstown, New York, parent company of Boulevard Brewing and Brewery Ommegang, at no. 15 (compared to no. 12 for 2014);
  • Matt Brewing Co. of Utica, New York, brewers of Saranac and other brands, at no. 17 (compared to no. 14 for 2014); and
  • Southern Tier Brewing Co. of Lakewood, New York) at no. 33 (compared to no. 35 for 2014).

Brooklyn Brewery also sits at no. 18 for overall brewing companies in the U.S. (compared to no. 17 in last year’s report), with Duvel Moortgat four spots behind at no. 22 (falling from no. 18 last year); Matt at no. 24 (compared to no. 20), and Southern Tier at 40 (compared to 41 for 2014). The highest ranking overall brewing company from New York is North American Breweries, which stood at no. 6 for both 2014 and 2015, and includes the Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Magic Hat and Pyramid brands.

See how other craft brewing companies stacked up in this infographic from the BA.

ba-top-50

Surprised by these stats? Think a brewery from your state deserved a spot in the top 50? Say it in the comments.

Cheers,

BeerAffair

NYC Beer Week 2016: 11 Vintages of Black Chocolate Stout at Brooklyn Brewery

BeerAffair's Cat Wolinski and Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver and Samantha Bernstein

BeerAffair‘s Cat Wolinski and Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver and Samantha Bernstein.

With NYC Beer Week 2016 in full swing, deciding on which events to attend each night becomes a bit challenging, to say the least. But on Monday, February 22, the choice was non-negotiable: Brooklyn Brewery invited select guests to attend the twenty-first birthday of the Black Chocolate Stout.

This was no ordinary birthday party. The Black Chocolate Stout holds significance at Brooklyn Brewery for several reasons. One is that the beer’s recipe was essentially the entry point into Brooklyn Brewery for Garrett Oliver,  now brewmaster, who has since risen to worldwide fame for his beer making and beer-and-food pairing prowess. Another is that at the time of its original brew date in 1994, the beer, an imperial stout, was the most radical stout many beer drinkers had ever seen or tasted. Chocolate in a beer name?! Ten percent alcohol by volume?!

Finally, and perhaps most significantly for birthday bash attendees, the brewery has held onto nearly a dozen bottled iterations of the imperial stout since its origins. Originally announcing  10 vintages would be available, it turned out that there are, in fact, 11 vintages of Black Chocolate Stout available — a surprise 2007 was available on draft — making this event even more unique than we originally thought. The icing on the cake—the figurative one, not the chocolate one— was tasting and comparing each chocolately vintage with sweet early 2000’s tunes to sip to. Continue reading

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

NYC Beer Week 2016: Brewers to Look for and Beers to Drink

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. 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

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.

6 Irish Stouts to Drink Instead of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day

Did you know that stouts originated in London? Or that the “stout” is actually an abbreviation of “stout porter,” a stronger style of the popular beer among early eighteenth century London dock workers?

Guinness was introduced, as the story goes, in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland, where the draught is still brewed today. Yet, some speculate the story is hogwash and the beer actually originated in England. To add to the confusion, several varieties—like the Guinness Extra Stout we see here in the States in cans and bottles—are brewed in other countries (for us, Canada) and on top of that, the Guinness headquarters is in London!

It’s hard to say how “Irish” the Guinness you’re drinking today really is, so in an effort to get you educatedly drunk this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a list of Irish stouts that are either 100% Irish or Irish-inspired, and are, by American terms, craft—that means no Murphy’s, Smithwick’s, Beamish or Killian’s, either, I’m afraid—all of those are owned by either MolsonCoors or Heineken.

O'Haras Irish Stout

O’Haras Irish Stout. Image via youtube.com.

O’Hara’s Irish Stout
Carlow Brewing Company
Bagenalstown, Ireland

O’Hara’s Brewery, or Carlow Brewing Company, is an independent, family-owned brewery located in Bagenalstown in County Carlow, Ireland. O’Hara’s Irish Stout, the company’s flagship beer, was first brewed in 1999 and has since won multiple awards as well as acclaim for staying true to Irish tradition. Robust, tart from Fuggle hops and espresso-like in its finish, O’Hara’s Irish Stout recreates a taste similar to the stouts of yore.

Find it at: Alewife (5-14 51st Ave., Long Island City); Barleycorn (23 Park Place, Financial District); Taproom 307 (307 3rd Ave., Kips Bay); Beer Authority (300 W 40th St. at 8th Ave., Midtown West);  and Draught 55 (245 E 55th St. at 2nd Ave., Midtown East).

Porterhouse Oyster Stout

Porterhouse Oyster Stout. Image via clevelandhops.com.

Porterhouse Oyster Stout
Porterhouse Brewing Company
Dublin, Ireland

Another Irish independent challenging the industrial breweries is Porterhouse, a brewpub that opened in Temple Bar, Dublin in 1996 and has since added locations in Cork, London and—wait for it—New York. The brewing company’s Oyster Stout is literally brewed with oysters, which is pretty gross, but this is actually their best selling stout to date.

Find it at: Fraunces Tavern, a Porterhouse-owned pub in the Financial District (54 Pearl St. at Broad St.),  or The Well (272 Meserole St.) in Bushwick.

Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask

Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask. Image via bandadegaitas.mx

Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask
Innis & Gunn
Edinburgh, Scotland

This Scottish stout is matured in Irish whiskey barrels (so it’s half Irish, right?) and yields a dark, rich, boozy pour that’ll put the proverbial hair on your chest. Surprisingly, the stout reaches 7.4% ABV—less aggressive than other barrel aged stouts, which tend to clock in above 10%—but nearly doubling the alcohol content of typical stouts, which usually hover around 4%.

Find it at: Beer Boutique in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Moylan's Dragoons Dry Irish Stout

Moylan’s Dragoons Dry Irish Stout. Image via pfbarney.wordpress.com.

Moylan’s Dragoons Dry Irish Stout
Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant/Marin Brewing Company
Novato, California

Of the non-Irish Irish stouts, Moylan’s Dragoons is furthest from the motherland but perhaps closest to its heart. The Dragoons Dry Irish Stout is made at Moylan’s Celtic-inspired brewpub in the North Bay Region of the San Francisco Bay Area, and its unique character comes, in part, from being brewed with barley and hops imported from the UK. As for its inspiration, Dragoons was conceived to commemorate General Stephen Moylan, an Irish expat who served as commander of the 4th Continental Dragoons during the American Revolutionary War. At 8.0% ABV, it’s the most alcoholic stout on this list, which also wins it a few points.

Find it at: Malt and Mold beer store in Gramcery (362 2nd Ave. at 21st St.); possibly Malt and Mold on the Lower East Side (221 East Broadway at Clinton St.). Call ahead, this bad boy is hard to find.

Harpoon Irish Stout Nitro

Harpoon Irish Stout Nitro. Image via harpoonbrewery.com.

Harpoon Boston Irish Stout Nitro
Harpoon Brewery
Boston, Massachusetts

This may not be brewed in or near Ireland, but since many of Boston’s residents really think they’re Irish, and because Harpoon went through hell trying to figure out how to nitrogenate beer on a large scale, and because it’s on nitro which means it’s extra rich and creamy, I’m allowing it. The Boston-brewed, time-honored take on the style yields an ale noted by the brewery as “full-bodied but sessionable,” with a creamy, roasty character that’s classic enough to convince you you’re drinking a traditional Irish stout.

Find it at: Rattle n Hum (14 E 33rd St., Midtown East) where 16 oz draught pours are being served up alongside other hearty stouts from around the country.

Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout

Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout. Image via brewedforthought.com

Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout
Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn, New York

A Brooklyn-based beer blogger can’t very well put out a lineup of Irish stouts without the borough’s famed Brooklyn Brewery, can she? The Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout is pretty self-explanatory—roasty, toasty, hints of coffee—and it tastes extra good knowing it’s brewed close to home.

Find it at: The Well or Uglyduckling (166 Smith St., Cobble Hill) in Brooklyn, on draft; Greenwood Park (555 7th Ave. at 19th St., South Slope) on cask; and The Shakespeare (24 E 39th St., Midtown East) on draft or cask.

Most importantly, don’t forget your Irish “cheers” out there today—Sláinte (sounds like slan-cha).

 

Note: Beer availabilities determined via BeerMenus.com. You might want to call ahead to make sure they’ve got what you’re looking for. It is St. Patrick’s Day, after all.