In this post, our NYC contributor, Lizzie, recaps one of her favorite New York Beer Week events of 2013….
It’s been Beer Week up here in New York City and it sure has been a way to beat the winter doldrums. Living in beer rich Brooklyn, it seems every other bar in the borough has a special event at least one night this blessed week. Since I’m not a Suds Super Hero I have not been able to make it to every great event, but of the ones I’ve gone to, The Third Annual Brewer’s Choice was probably the best bet. Somewhat ironically, the affair was held at the City Winery. The exposed wood beams, barrels of wine and beer served in stemware helped to elevate the beer event to a level of refinement typically reserved for wine tastings, something that we are seeing more and more of. Beer is America’s drink and its sophistication is really being celebrated more and more–Brewer’s Choice made sure to let us all know that.
The billing alone would cause one to swoon. With heavy hitters like Allagash, Brooklyn Brewery and Brewery Ommegang bringing in their brewers you knew things were about to get real. This year’s event was heavily New York focused giving it a neighborly feel. With the New York City brewing scene exploding, it was exciting to sip some ales from smaller breweries like City Island Brewing located on City Island, Bronx–a little known island enclave to even the seasoned New Yorker. Another pleasant surprise came from Empire Brewing who showed up with one of the more interesting taste profiles of the night, Purple Dragon. This beer is an unfiltered Belgian Golden ale brewed with purple Thai basil grown on a farm in nearby Tarrytown, NY. There was the perfect amount of funk giving a slight sour taste. This may go without saying but this beer would definitely pair well with a nice, spicy Pad Thai.
Gypsy brewers extraordinaire, Stillwater Brewing and Evil Twin Brewing showed up with some outstanding libations. Brian Strumke, the genius behind Stillwater, showed up with a stout called Folk Lore that really kicked the night off for me. Folk Lore is a dark ale brewed with Belgian yeast, hops and slight smoke offering an interesting complexity for the palate. Jeppe brought some crowd pleasers as well—Imperial Biscotti Break and Femme Fatale. The Imperial Biscotti Break, a porter brewed with almonds, espresso and almonds, sits at 8.4% so though it’s tasty, drinker beware. The delicious brew coats your mouth and soothes your soul making you think of your Nonna’s cookies.
Another brewery that blew me away was Peekskill Brewing. The guy that headed up Ithaca Brewery broke away to open up his own establishment and he is really making waves. The Amazeballs Pale Ale was just that, amazeballs. A single-hopped Galaxy Pale Ale really did hit the spot that night and had the room buzzing about Peekskill. I’d be remiss were I not to mention the rare offerings Allagash was pouring that had the whole venue in a tizzy: Jim Bean and Midnight Magic. Of the two the Midnight Magic might have been the crowd pleaser but I preferred the Jim Bean. They took their bourbon barrel aged Tripel and added cold pressed coffee. These are rare offerings from these seasoned veterans and it excited all in attendance.
All in all, if you were at this event you walked out high fiving a million angels because you knew you were just at the premiere beer week party. If you sadly did not make it then I suggest you mark your calendar for next year. Keep drinking, NYC!
-Lizzie Boyle, Contributing Writer