Tag Archives: nyc

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!     

 

 

             

Advertisements
Video

Our Newest Two Girls One Pint Video featuring the guys from Bitter and Esters

25 Feb

Szoke from Two Girls One Pint brews an English Style IPA with the guys from Bitter and Esters

Welcoming the New Year with Great Beer

3 Jan

 

 

What a year 2012 has been!  It was a great year for craft beer, as more breweries have opened up, making 2751 breweries operating in the United States according to data released by the Beer Institute (an industry research group) last month.  This means there are more craft breweries in existence now than there has ever been in American history (since before Prohibition).  There seems to be a new American craft brewery opening up every day!    

This data is not absolutely shocking to me judging by the new breweries that spring up at every beer festival I’ve attended in the past year and new taps popping up in my favorite craft beer bars in the city.  This is truly an exciting time for craft beer!

And along with this trend, there also seems to be more craft beer bars opening up in this great city of ours.  While I wish I had time to visit every one, this year one of my “resolutions,” is to visit as many as I can and share my experiences with you so you can check them out and judge for yourself.  Here are just two craft beer bars that I want to highlight that have opened up in the past year or so and are worth checking out if happen to be anywhere in the downtown area.  While they aren’t necessarily brand new, both are unique and offer up some great beers in an alternative environment to just the typical beer bar.

 

The Growler Bites & Brews —15 South William Street/55 Stone Street, New York, NY 10004

 

While almost every neighborhood in NYC across the five boroughs seems to have some kind of craft beer bar (and some ‘hoods, like Park Slope, have one on every block), whether it be a bar that existed before and has began offering more craft taps or it’s a brand new establishment built around the burgeoning craft beer scene, the Financial District (FiDi for you real estate people) seems to have quite a lack. 

The Growler amended this problem when it opened early last year.  Offering growlers to either take home or enjoy at the bar, this is just one aspect of this tavern that makes it unique. 

Another highlight is the house brews, the “Brrright” and the “Darrrk,” which are brewed specifically for this establishment respectively by Stoudt’s (of Pennsylvania) and Sixpoint. Both are meant to be solid, session-able beers: The Brrright is a blonde colored, German style lager, while the Darrrk is a chocolate-y colored, but surprisingly light-bodied English mild.  While saying their names may make one feel like “Tony the Tiger”(both are grrreat), the availability of these beers reminds me of going to McSorley’s and having to pick between their light or dark beer (I like both) and offer a nice option for those guests who may want to hang out and throw back a couple of brews. 

Although drinking a few beers here can get quite expensive as all their beers are $7 or $8, and no happy hour option.  I guess it’s what one can expect for the neighborhood but it still seems a bit on the pricey side to me.

In addition to the house brews, the bar offers about twelve other taps and on my frequent visits to this place, the selection is always pretty good.  Try the Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza, a sour, funky beer from Michigan that is considered to be a Biere de Garde and is brewed in the Franco-Belgian tradition with wild yeasts. 

If Belgians aren’t your thing, they usually have a few decent IPA’s on tap including on a recent visit, Ballast Point’s Sculpin and Green Flash’s Imperial IPA. 

Growler also offers some great cocktails, including batched options, as well as food, the most enticing of which is their hot dogs, imported from across the bridge from Brooklyn’s Mile End.  These gourmet dogs come in a Hawaiian style (with pineapple relish and papaya mustard), Chicago-style, or a style you come up with on your own from a list of their gourmet toppings like apple slaw.  All dogs can be made vegetarian for those of you who would rather be petting dogs than eating them. 

Speaking of dogs, it’s obvious the place has a canine theme, with portraits of different breeds covering the dining room walls.  Despite this, your pooch is not allowed inside thanks to NYC health codes, so Fido will have to wait outside while you drink your beer!  Still, this pub offers up some solid grub and great craft beers, so it’s worth checking out if you happen to work or live near the area.    

 

Idle Hands –25 Avenue B (between 2nd and 3rd street) New York, NY 10009

 

I’ve been dying to check this place out since it opened (about a year and a half now) and made me think of the late ‘90’s Devon Sawa movie (I had such a bad grade school crush), and this week, it finally happened. 

Idle Hands has already established itself as a mecca of cool encompassing everything I could possibly want in one place: Beer, bourbon, and rock ‘n’ roll.  Oh how I wish I lived in the East Village!  I’d probably be here everyday. 

Or at least every Wednesday night, where they host tastings and for $10 you can get yourself a sample of the night’s featured whiskey, 3 tastes of the featured brewery of the night along with 2 full pours of the beer.  Oh, and tater tots.  How can you beat that?  The tasting session runs from 7-9 p.m. and reservations are encouraged.

I plan to visit this bar much more in the future, especially nights where they have DJ’s playing alternative tracks from the’90’s or maybe the first Thursday of every month when they have a an Emo/Post-Hardcore party. 

And this is a perfect spot to try pairing some good ‘ole American whiskey with your beer.  On my visit I sipped a Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon while chasing it with a Founder’s Porter.  Mmmmmmm a perfect winter night treat. 

They open at 5 p.m. everyday except for Sundays when they open at noon and also have a sweet happy hour (M-Sat.) that lasts from 5-8 p.m., when all their draft beers are $5.

 

January is a good month to stay indoors and try some great new beers.  This month, “Two Girls One Pint,” plans on visiting even more beer bars and maybe a brewery or two.  Oh 2013, I love you already!   

 

      

This weekend you don’t want to miss this! The Winter Harvest in NYC

28 Nov

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month now since Sandy barraged our city with her high winds and flooding, causing massive damage to several New York City neighborhoods, taking down people’s houses and closing businesses, and bringing our city to a standstill. 

            While most things seem to be getting back to “normal,” there are millions of people who have been affected by the storm and continue to suffer from her devastation. 

            That is why the rescheduled NYC Craft Beer Festival: Winter Harvest, originally to be held on November 10th, but postponed to this Saturday, December 1st, has a new emphasis placed on Sandy Relief.  Hand Crafted Tasting Co., the production company hosting the beer festival is asking people to bring things like batteries, flashlights, work gloves, tools, cleaning supplies, and even holiday gifts, which will then be donated to those who need it most in Breezy Point, Queens—just one of the many NYC neighborhoods hurt by the storm.   

            Additionally, the location of the event has changed as well.  This Saturday’s event is being held at Basketball City, which is at 299 South Street in lower Manhattan, easily accessible via the F train.       

            There will be two sessions on Saturday: The first is from 12:30-4:00 PM and the second is from 6:00-9:30 PM for the VIP/Connoisseur tickets and 1:30-4:00 PM and 7:00-9:30PM for General Admission ticket-holders. The Connoisseur tickets include access to a special designated lounge with rare beers and hors d’oeuvres that will not be available in the General Admission area.  Those tickets are $125, but go up to $135 if you wait until the day of to purchase them.
            VIP ticket holders get an extra hour of sampling for the $75 ticket price ($85 for the day of).  While General Admission tickets will cost you $55 (or $65 if you wait until Saturday).

            All ticket holders will have the option of attending three seminars including one hosted by Chris Gallant, General Manager and Co-Founder of The Bronx Brewery, about starting your own small business. 

There will also be a seminar on pairing food and beer for your holiday parties, hosted by Chef Stephen Durley and Beer Sommelier Hayley Jensen, and a cheese-and-beer-pairing seminar hosted by Aaron Foster of Murray’s Cheeses. 

            And of course, there’s the beer!  There will be approximately 150 Craft Beers from 75 breweries.  If you’ve been to a beer festival before, you know how this works: You get your 4 oz. tasting glass and try as many beers as you can within the time constraints!  Think of it as a beer-drinker’s marathon…   

            I’d recommend trying beers you’ve never had before or visiting a brewery you are unfamiliar with.  Brooklyn Brewery will have their newest Brewmaster’s Reserve, “There Will Be Black,” on tap.  This Winter seasonal (an American black ale) is made with a blend of German and American dark malts and hopped with New Zealand Pacific Gems and Motuekas and well as American Willamette hops.  I haven’t had it yet, but I’m really looking forward to trying this one on Saturday!

            You can compare Blue Point’s White IPA to the same style from Saranac.  Which one do you like better?  And why?  Or you can try Winter seasonals from your favorite breweries like Captain Lawrence and Abita.  There will surely be a style and type of beer for everyone at this Saturday’s festival. 

            And Connoisseurs will have access to specialty beers like Allagash’s Hugh Malone, a Belgian style IPA, Magic Hat’s Graupel, a wheat wine from their small batch “Humdinger” series, and even the ever-popular Goose Island Bourbon County Stout—a favorite this time of year.  If you were considering splurging on a Connoisseur ticket, these beers are just a few reasons why you should!     

            And last but not least, Two Girls One Pint will be all over this Fest!  Jennifer Wood and I will be hanging out at our table, modeling our T-shirts and talking about craft beer, while our own Josh Schwartz, Szoke Schaeffer, and Stevie Ann Nance (from the Sassy Beer Sisters) will be covering the event. 

            We’ve been waiting months for this beer festival and even Sandy couldn’t stop it.  If you are coming on Saturday, please don’t forget to bring an item to donate and stop by our table.  We can’t wait to see you there!

             

Be Thankful for Craft Beer: What to pair with your meal this Thursday

20 Nov

It’s almost turkey time in America and for each of us that may mean something different.

            Maybe you are traveling across the state or across the country to spend the holiday with family and friends.  Maybe you actually prefer to go out to eat on Thanksgiving because the idea of cooking or spending the day with your family is frightening.

            Or maybe you are the one hosting the Thanksgiving feast this year.  Anyone cooking for Thanksgiving, whether it be for a few friends or your entire family (second cousins included), knows they need to do a lot of planning and preparation for their meal ahead of time.  This year, how about introducing some great craft beer to your table to pair with your home-cooked meal?

            If you are a new home-brewer, maybe this is the time to introduce your family and friends to your hobby—Try pairing your homebrew with different dishes at the table and see what works best.  If you don’t homebrew, or don’t think that experimental ale you made last summer would go too great with your mother’s famous stuffing, there are plenty of American craft beers that would be welcome guests at your dinner table.  

            Let’s start with the meal’s centerpiece: The Turkey.  According to Garret Oliver, one of the most well-respected brewmasters (from Brooklyn Brewery) and an expert on pairing beer with food, turkey and a nice Biere de Garde (a French Farmhouse ale) are a match made in Thanksgiving heaven.  Since Biere de Gardes are not exactly commonplace and may be difficult to find locally, a Belgian-style Saison also makes a lovely pairing with the bird.  The differences between the two styles are subtle: a biere de garde tends to be maltier and hence sweeter while most saisons are lighter and crisper with nice spice notes and a floral aroma.  While both are usually spring/summer seasonals for a lot of breweries, both go great with turkey, no matter how you are preparing it.       

When I think of American-brewed, Belgian-style ales I automatically think of Brewery Ommegang.  Any of their complex beers pair so wonderfully with food!  Plus, their brews are easy to find in the NYC area.  I would suggest their Hennepin, a farmhouse saison, whose peppery, fruity notes would go great with the bird.  Ommegang’s Hennepin is certainly a benchmark version of this style that you should not have any difficulty finding in the city.   

Another beer within the same “farmhouse” family is Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ace.  The buttery flavors and lemony aromas imparted by the Japanese-bred Sorachi hop in this singularly-hopped saison would go great with your turkey dinner.

But for a more versatile and catch-all beer that goes great with more than just turkey, Ommegang’s Abbey Ale would pair well with almost everything else at your dinner table this Thanksgiving.  The Belgian-style dubbel is so complex tasting (plums, cherries, toffee, figs) that it begs to be paired with a rich, hearty meal no matter what cuisine you’ll be serving on Thursday.  Try to find a wine as flavorful or dynamic as this beer—your friends and family will certainly be impressed with its versatility!  You may even convince your wine-loving aunts and uncles that beer too, goes great (or even better) with food.   

Now on to the sides.  Mashed potatoes?  How about a brown ale or a porter.  There are several local examples to choose from including Sixpoint’s Brownstone (although I’d pour it into a nice glass and avoid the odd stares you may get from your family when drinking beer from a can) or Brooklyn Brown Ale?  While these two Brooklyn-based breweries both offer fine brown ales that pair wonderfully with hearty fare like mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing, Smuttynose’s Old Brown Dog Ale or their Robust Porter are also great choices.  There are many more great examples out there so pick your favorite but think hearty, dark, and malty beers for your heavier Thanksgiving fare.

Although you may be a fan of hoppier American beer styles like West Coast IPAs (you and your brother love to compare notes on the latest and greatest plate-wreckers), these will not pair as well with your Thanksgiving dinner.  Unless, of course, you are implementing some major spices or going a non-traditional route with your cuisine.  But if you plan on sticking with the standards this season, I wouldn’t suggest pouring Imperial IPAs at your dinner table.  Save those beer styles for another occasion. 

Last but not least, there’s dessert.  At this point in your meal, you are most likely beyond stuffed but if you’re like me, there’s always room for that last course!  And it just happens to be MY favorite part of the meal as I enjoy doing the baking and of course, the eating.  Pecan, Pumpkin or even sweet potato pies go great with a spiced ale or any kind of flavorful stout.   

Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout is an obvious choice, but I’m thinking that western New York’s Southern Tier has some great beers that would impress your guests.  If many of Ommegang’s delcious Belgian-style beers pair well with your dinner, then I would say that any of Southern Tier’s “Blackwater” beers would go just as lovely with dessert.  Their Choklat, Jah-va, Mokah, and Crème Brulee Stouts practically beg to be drunk with sweet treats.  There’s also the fall seasonal favorite, the pumpkin ale, and you know your cousin loves her spiced beers.  Southern Tier’s Pumking is a favorite of many of my family and friends, and if you can manage to find one this week (or you’ve been hoarding some all season), Thanksgiving would be a lovely time to share it.    

Hey, I may even go for (beer) seconds and skip the pie altogether!  And any of these delicious brews will make shopping on Black Friday that much more bearable…

What will YOU be drinking this Thanksgiving?