A coterie of craft brewers with The New York City’s Brewer’s Guild tapped off their trophy brews recently to introduce their lineup for the 8th annual Beer Week being held February 19-28th. Select 250 beer enclaves throughout all five boroughs will be hosting 4oo events to promote the city’s burgeoning craft beer movement. A total of twenty-three staple artisan breweries and small-barrel neophytes will be attending including: Brooklyn Brewery, Bronx Brewery, Coney Island Brewing Co., KelSo Beer Co., LIC Beer Project, Sixpoint Brewery, Heartland Brewing Co., Queens Brewery, Gun Hill Brewing Co., and select others. Here are some that know their craft.
Look out for Keg and Lantern Brewing Co., operating out of Greenpoint Brooklyn. They don’t distribute and only serve at their brewery and restaurant out of cans the size of mini silos. But their head brewer, Patrick Allen (who used to work in a photography studio), is too prolific creating a weekly rotation of nuanced beers ranging from ethereal fruity ales to mighty IPA’s —Gastronomical IPA being a local favorite cheerleading an impressive roster and wunderkind behind the boil.
Braven Brewing Co., based in Bushwick, is new on the circuit with an ambitious ethos in raising craft brewery awareness and supporting the local community. Samples included their full intimate rotation are: White IPA, Black Pale Ale, and a Pilsner. The Pilsner was the true standout, a recipe based on one gleaned from history. Brooklyn used to be a swampland of microbreweries where pilsner tasted the way it should before the monolith breweries wiped out the landscape. Braven upped the ante and created a tasty sip of the old world with a committed maltyness, playfully sweet and dry with a clean finish and a naturally light ABV.
Be sure to swing by Queens Brewery, proudly exhibiting a Queen’s nobility, which has already edged into the market as an intrinsic Citi Field bleacher beverage and is gaining distribution throughout the city. On tap was Queens Lager and Queens Blvd. Founder Nelson Rockefellor asserted we’re “An award-winning beer that hasn’t won any awards yet.” After sampling both, especially the lager, it was a modest statement. It’s an original, rich and malty almost verging on a pale ale as Chinook and Summit hops were used but with a slight sweetness—with an ABV of only 4.7%, also a homerun.
Coney Island Brewing Co. is a microbrewery of Alchemy and Science, which is owned by Boston Beer Co. that owns Samuel Adams. Their heavy-hitters are Mermaid Pilsner, Seas of Day IPA, and Overpass IPA all worthy of your fridge’s real estate. If they’re still not a household name, you may recognize their comics-inspired, American Horror Showish gothic labels. With a respectable distribution growing daily, they also have a distinctive inventory, ranging from hard root beers to familiar genres to limited releases. The special sideshow belongs to their Hot Toddy—yes, the historic hard liquor bevy transfigured into a brew. Eric Hernandez and gang wanted to diverge from their winter release, The Plunge, a Belgian-style ale. Inspiration led to honey brewed with the boil, fermented with cinnamon and juiced lemons, then aged on whiskey barrel staves. It’s at 12.5% ABV, so it’s packing heavy heat.
Gun Hill Brewing Co., representing the Bronx, already has solid momentum with their Void of Light, a foreign stout, which was honored with the Gold Medal in The American Beer Festival, the most esteemed of its kind in the U.S. With the market so flooded with IPA invasion, it’s refreshing when a brewery separates itself by reworking a classic. Gun Hill is named after a strategic battle point in the Bronx during the Revolutionary War intended to symbolize their non-conformist attitude in New York’s craft beer awakening. Void of Light, however, didn’t grace attendees, but their core IPA and Nelson’s Oatmeal Stout (Nelson, the name of George Washington’s battle horse) was a worthy surrogate. Loaded with oats, it’s a chocolate malt and roasted barley nectar, smooth and velvety, your palate can only surrender.
Also hailing from Greenpoint is Greenpoint Beer and Ale Co., another diminutive pop up with an idiosyncratic roll-out of brews fully dressed in hipster attire. They brew on a five-barrel system including small batch ales, lager, and brett beers—fermented with a special ilk of yeast producing funky profiles. The most impressive of the sampling was “Flannel Shirt,” a faithfully-styled Northwest red IPA, amber in color, but seriously piney and resinous topped off with citrus accords as the amber element keeps up with the hoppy attack for the “urban lumberjack.”
And trekking from the eastern whale, or specifically, the Northern Fork of Long Island, is Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Greenport hasn’t been short on eyeballs and tastebuds since 2009 with a healthy local following and notable press. They introduced a 360 showcase including a light ale and IPA, but what will really shiver your timbers is their Black Duck Porter. It’s righteously crafted black ale brewed with winks of cocoa and espresso rounding off a roasty, full-bodied profile; it’s a true wonder.
For more information visit http://www.nycbeerweek.com.