Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas in New York City - Brooklyn Brewery on the Itinerary

As tradition has it, my family once again asked for a trip to New York City to partake in the Christmas lights and festivities throughout Manhattan and the other boroughs. This year I agreed, with one stipulation; we allocate enough time to visit Brooklyn Brewery - located in the now trendy Williamsburg industrial area. And this visit was easily handled with the Prospect Park Zoo on the itinerary.

I've been a big fan of the brewery ever since my first Double Chocolate Stout many years ago - perhaps close to their 1988 opening. Since that time the brewery has expanded its portfolio from their famous Lager to many different styles. And the brewery itself has expanded with demand to double its capacity and eventually triple it next year.  And anyone who follows beer culture knows the influence of Brewmaster Garrett Oliver as he is  editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer and author of The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food. One day we need to feature him on MyJoogTV.

We arrived at the brewery to find a swelling crowd even though the tasting room had just opened. As it was Sunday we were welcomed to SmorgasBrewery; where local "underground" chefs provide gourmet food to pair with your beer. And what a selection of beer - maybe a dozen options - and not just the perennials augmented with some seasonals. I noticed only two - the Brooklyn Brown Ale and Brooklyn Lager, surrounded by the single hop Sorachi Ace, Radius, Winter Ale, Brooklyn Monster Ale, and There Will Be Black - among others. After sampling a few, my favorites were the Brewmaster's Reserve There Will Be Black and Sorachi Ace. The former is a Black IPA that satisfies my craving for chocolate transitioning into a bitter finish. The latter is a Single-hop Farmhouse Saison where the rare “Sorachi Ace” hops (developed in Japan by crossing the British “Brewer’s Gold” with the Czech “Saaz”) is sourced from a single hop farm in Washington state. The beer is cloudy but light; lemony but very clean - with a refreshing, almost acidic finish. Love the style and ingenuity using a single hop variety.

With the family keeping a tight schedule there wasn't time for a tour or more tasting, but with the renaissance in Williamsburg, I see a destination trip in my future. Beer and live music seem to pair well in Brooklyn. Cheers.

Note: Brooklyn Brewery is open to the public Monday-Thursday from 5-7pm for reservation-only Small Batch tours, Friday evening for Happy Hour, and Saturdays and Sundays for Tours and Tastings.

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