Tag Archives: beer festival

New York City Craft Beer Week!

25 Feb

Friday kicked off the week-long event(s) we’ve been waiting a year and a half for (The last beer week was in September 2011 and was run differently, making 2012 beer-week-less).       

            Why the delay?  Well now “New York City Beer Week” is run by our local brewers and their local sponsors!   The New York City Brewers Guild (NYCBG) is made up of Brooklyn, Bronx, La Birreria at Eataly, Chelsea, Kelso, Heartland, Schmaltz, Sixpoint, City Island, Rockaway, and Gastropub 508.

 In past NYC Beer Weeks, before the unity of our city’s local breweries, the NYC Craft Beer Week was not run by the newly-formed Guild and participants were issued “passports,” (for the affordable fee of $10) that lead them on an adventure of sort where descriptions of participating bars lined the pages and mini-coupons would get one a discounted beer at said bar (1 per customer), along with some other events and discounts that would happen throughout the week.

But this year’s beer week seems to have evolved greatly and is more organized, sans passport, and participants don’t really have to pay anything (except the ticket price of a special event or the price of that delicious beer in your hand), with an emphasis on local and multiple venues are participating complete with beer dinners, pairings, special tap takeovers, musical guests, etc. 

So how will YOU tackle NYC Beer Week this year? A beer week as big is this one is an individualized experience and will require diligence and pre-planning on your part.  But if I can offer some advice, I certainly will.

My first suggestion, which is the most important, is PICK UP A COPY OF “THE VILLAGE VOICE.”  NOW!!  (I said that in my best Arnold voice).  There is a guide in there that lists all of the participating venues across the 5 boroughs as well as the dates they are having special events.  The bar listings are in alphabetical order!  Couldn’t be simpler.  Find you favorite beer bar or restaurant and find out what they are doing for NYC Craft Beer Week. 

I’ve been hoarding giving out copies to my friends since Wednesday morning.  I feel as though it’s my civic duty to inform my friends of what’s going on.  If you can’t seem to find those little plastic red stands all over the city then go to the NYCBG Web site and check out their event page: http://microapp.villagevoice.com/nycbg/eventsFeb22.php.  Here, the events are listed by days of the week (in case you don’t have a favorite bar). 

The“Metro,” (those free papers they give out all over the city) and the great Web site “Thrillist” also have guides.  I love Thrillist’s “choose your own beer-venture” map!  http://images.thrillist.com/files/images/3018152popup.jpg   

Next step, if you really want to get the full experience of this year’s Beer Week, I would suggest (if your budget allows) buying a ticket to Wednesday’s event at City Winery.  The “NYC Brewers’ Choice” is being called the premier event, with 20+ brewers from 20+ breweries pouring beer for you, paired with artisan food prepared by NYC chefs.  It’s really going to be a “Who’s Who” of the NYC brewing world, and you’ll be rubbing elbows with brewing greats like Garrett Oliver and Chris Cuzme.  We bought our tickets this morning and I am SUPER excited about this event.  Seriously, go here now: http://brewerschoice2013.eventbrite.com/ and thank me later!  If you attend one event this week, this is the one.      

Friday, February 22ndThe “Opening Night Bash” being held tonight at 7pm in Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space.  Problem is this little party is completely SOLD OUT!  If you didn’t get a ticket (like me), there are plenty of other events happening tonight that you can attend that don’t require a ticket! 

One particular standout is the Singlecut Beersmiths Tap Takeover and dinner at the Alewife Queens.  It’s a $65, five-course meal paired with delicious beers from Queen’s newest brewery.  If you live in Queens or just have a lot of love for the borough, this is your event!

Speaking of Queens, The Queens Kickshaw will be pouring all Queens brews all week, including beers from Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, SingleCut, Rockaway and Beyond Kombucha (ok so not technically beer but still a fermented beverage).  Queens is on the map! 

Sunswick 35/35 has an Empire Brewery night tonight from 7-10 p.m. and The Pony Bar UES has a Hudson Valley Brewers & Distillers night with beers from Newburgh, Rushing Duck (!), and Sloop.

Saturday February 23rd:  While it seems like Queens is getting all the attention these days, let’s not forget where the NYC Craft Beer revolution began: Brooklyn!  A steady (and strong) player in the brewery and craft beer bar field, Brooklyn has many events of its own.  Today (Saturday) take one of Urban Oysters many beer tours like the “Brewed in Brooklyn” tour, which runs from noon-3:30.  Get tickets here:  

Also in Brooklyn, for you “real ale” drinkers, dba Brooklyn in Williamsburg is kicking off their 7th annual “Williamsburg Cask Beer Festival.”  The Festival runs through Tuesday and will feature 16 rare and delicious cask-conditioned beers tapped simultaneously.  There is no entry fee, and the beers are pay-per-drink.  If you enjoy your beer the traditional way, then this is the event for you.

We love 508 Gastrobrewery, and tomorrow they will be releasing “The Revered King,” a double black IPA.  This beer is sure to be delicious.

If you live in the Bronx then you won’t want to miss the Bronx Alehouse event that will feature rare and barrel-aged beers from NY state breweries. 

 

This is just the beginning of NYC Beer Week and there are plenty more events that will be held throughout the week (it’s a bit too much to highlight them all in this blog post).  Later this weekend I will talk about more specialty events to attend and beers to drink but for now enjoy your weekend and the beginning of NYC Beer Week!     

 

 

             

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Harpoon Brewery Part II

18 Dec

Sorry to leave our readers in suspense—it’s just when you have such an extra ordinary experience, it’s hard to put it all into words.

Most of you have probably visited a brewery before—you are taken on a tour, get samples in the tasting room, learned more about the brand and its history—you leave a little more informed and a little more drunk than when you came in.  Every brewery seems to have its own nuances.  Our visit to Harpoon was especially unique because Al Marzi, Chief of Brewing Operations and a guy who’s been with the company for 21 years (almost since its inception), was our own personal tour guide.

He started in the company lunchroom, a modest place with an admirable collection of random hot sauces (why do beer and hot sauce always seem to go together?).  From there he walked us through the “factory”–visiting a brewery always seems to be a Willy Wonka-type experience.  You see where they mill the grains, mash them, sparge and then add hops and other spices to the wort.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be entertained by the bottling line (always even more fascinating when you’ve already tasted a few brews)—this particular bottling line applies a label on both the front and back of the bottle—oooooooo.

Al also pointed out where they will soon be installing a canning line.  While they currently can their signature IPA, UFO, and their summer seasonal at upstate FX Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, NY, you can anticipate a bigger canned selection soon due to this new addition.

He also showed us where they’re working on experimental, 400-gallon batches.  Well, some of them work out and some don’t!  You’re next favorite beer may be brewing there now…

So now for the biggest news of all—Harpoon is opening a large beer garden-type hall where future tastings will take place and tours will take off.  You bet we’ll be there for the Grand Opening!

A few days before our visit, the Harpoon staff had a company holiday party where they celebrated the end of “Movember,” in the not-yet-opened beer hall, at their “Stache-bash” all while giving back to some local charities.  Moustaches for a great cause?  Yeah, we love that!  Al himself earned special recognition with his “checkerboard” beard, a signature pattern on all of Harpoon’s beers (it was unfortunately absent upon our visit—we bet Al couldn’t wait to get rid of it!).  For photo evidence, check out their Facebook page.    

The conclusion of our tour took us right back to that lunchroom—much more enlightened after our journey we inquired about the “staff taps”—there seemed to be a few unavailable-to-the-public beers there.  Al let us sample a sour—so delicious!  Although, it will probably never become a 100 Barrel Series beer due to the threat of infestation from Brettanomyces…what a shame!! (But understandable).  And not everybody enjoys the sour beers.  And as Al pointed out, they don’t exist to chase trends.  I’d add that Harpoon sets them!  Either way, it’s a great way to decide what’s coming up next for their 100 Barrel Series, having the staff sample and offer feedback from the lunchroom while even visitors to the brewery have the opportunity to try some rarities that may or may not make it into full production!  Just another great excuse (if you need one) to visit the brewery…   

Our visit to Harpoon was certainly a highlight on our trip to Boston.  But even if you can’t make it up to the brewery, you can still drink their beer locally.  If you visit Harpoon’s Web site, you can use their “Beer Finder” tool to seek out the beers near you—whether it be a case of their Wintry Mix, their Chocolate Stout on tap, or their latest 100 Barrel Series.  For more about their beers (and what we tried and thought), check out my last blog post.  We can’t wait to go back early next year and check out the new beer hall for ourselves…but until then, we’ll just have to drink a Winter Warmer…or two.