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The Weekly Sixer: December 2

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BA Commits to Diversity: The Brewers Association released a statement this week outlining their plan to study, understand and promote diversity in the craft beer industry. The initiative covers everything from representation in the workplace, to advertising standards, to fully understanding shifting demographics in the beer drinking populace. We salute the BA’s mission, and are excited to help the cause. We’re also excited about another excuse to use a Broad City gif, but that’s a separate matter.

Women in Craft Beer Forum Starts in NYC: Women involved or interested in beer, take note: Flagship Brewing in Staten Island has started up a Women’s Craft Beer Society to highlight women in the industry and bring more women to the taps. The first meeting featured Lineup Brewing founder and brewer Katarina Martinez speaking about her path to craft beer and an ESB-focused tasting that included her own Under Pressure. Keep an eye out for future meetings– hopefully, we’ll host one ourselves.

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Bud Light Goes Full Wonka: Light beer and leading suspect of sticky bar floors Bud Light announced a giveaway this week promising 51 years of Super Bowl tickets, or until the end of your life. All you have to do is find a golden Bud Light can in your pack, and suddenly you have access to tickets with an estimated value slightly more than God’s checking account. There’s no word yet on any winners, but we can only assume there’s a Grandpa Joe figure out there somewhere manipulating a Charlie Bucket type into repeated convenience store trips.

Wake Me Up Inside: Can’t wake up? A man in Poland shares your pain. A 25-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest after a full night of vodka drinking at his local pub, and was pronounced dead. Dead until the next morning, at least, when morgue attendants found the man banging on the inside of the refrigerator to ask for blankets and, presumably, a greasy sandwich and some aspirin. The man allegedly stopped at a pub for a drink on the way home, which we suppose he earned–afterlife is a long trip.

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Belgian Beer Designated International Treasure: UNESCO has approved Belgian beer drinking culture as an official member of the Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The mystery and magic of Belgian beer is clearly worthy of a standing ovation by the world at large, but the list is an excellent starting point. We raise our (highly specialized) glasses to you, Belgium!

Your Friday Thoughts: Leading cocktail figure Jeffrey Morgenthaler has assembled an excellent essay on what to drink and when, and the importance of knowing the difference, for your consideration in Food Republic. While we may disagree on the propriety of playing Metallica in the morning, Morgenthaler makes some fine points about reading the room before you get down to business. We recommend taking a look while you’re pretending to work this afternoon, then trying out his tips as soon as possible.

Tap That Glass December 2

Can you believe it’s December already? Of course you can. Can you believe we have a cask of Black Ops on in the Tasting Room this weekend? To be fair, you couldn’t before reading that sentence, but now you can. Look, believing in things can be tricky. Do yourself a solid and visit us this weekend for some solid, verifiable truth.

Our tap list is below, but there’s always a chance it’ll change so be sure to check our board and ask your bartender to see what’s new. Beer tokens can be purchased for $5 or 5 for $20, which is one of the best deals in the city.

Draft | 1 token each (unless indicated)

Cask Offering | 2 tokens

Black Ops (11.6% ABV) The original Ghost Bottle. The Big Barrel. The Beer That Does Not Exist. Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels and hand-blessed by all Creation. Your quest is over, so drink deep– you’ve earned it. Created by Eric Brown.

Bottle Pours | 3 tokens each (4 tokens for Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment pours), includes a complimentary Souvenir Logo Glass.

Local 1 (9.0% ABV)
Local 2 (9.0% ABV)
Sorachi Ace (7.6% ABV)
Ama Bionda (6.0% ABV)- two tokens
Black Chocolate Stout (10% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Hand & Seal (13.3% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Tripel Burner (10.6% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Quintaceratops (10.9% ABV)
Extremely Limited: Serpent (9.5%) *Four tokens with complimentary Souvenir Logo Glass

The Weekly Sixer: November 23

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Happy Thanksgiving!: And happy Thanksgiving Eve, aka “Drinksgiving,” a night that has morphed from a night of food prep to one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. Aaron Goldfarb has some pretty strong opinions, and we can’t disagree with most…but a lot of us will still be going out. Try to remember a few safety tips: have a safe travel plan, don’t end up hungover if you’re on turkey duty the following day, and you and your ex broke up for a good reason (probably you.) Good luck!

Boozy Turkey?: If you’re saving your drinking for Thanksgiving proper, allow us to recommend starting with this recipe for gin-brined turkey. The recipe harnesses the herbal notes of the celebrated spirit to add an extra layer of aroma to the bird. Just be careful with those measurements– Drinksgiving celebrants may not be quite ready to have hot gin fumes wafted at them after tonight.

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One More Thankful Post: Sure, we’re laying the holiday on a bit thick, but we greatly enjoyed All About Beer’s Fifty Things to Love About Beer list this week. No matter how Thanksgiving goes, you’ll always have beer and all of its wonderful foibles to back you up. Even the most politically divided family can agree on that. Well, hopefully.

Big Data Comes In Pints: A company called Glassify is working on releasing app-enabled pint glasses to bring content to drinkers and data to companies. When the glass is used, the patron can scan the glass with their app for beer information, exclusive content, and promotions, while the bar or brewery will receive demographic and preference data about the customer. At this rate, Black Mirror will have plenty of material for the next few seasons.

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Cheers to Band of Bohemia: Chicago brewpub Band of Bohemia is now the first brewpub to be awarded a Michelin Star. The team is dedicated to providing a new spin on the familiar brewpub experience, cutting out exposed brick and industrial chic in favor of warm colors, couches, and surprisingly homey details. We raise our glasses to Band of Bohemia, and cross our fingers that we can get there to check them out soon.

Don’t Leave Home Without It: A Massachusetts woman was arrested last week after slapping the doorman of the Monkey Bar when he refused to recognize a slice of pizza as valid ID. Pizza can open many doors in life, but remember to bring your actual legal ID when you’re heading out or you could end up imprisoned and (we assume) pizza-less.

 

Tap That Glass November 23

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Happy Thanksgiving! While we’re well aware of all the negative press Thanksgiving gets: the inevitable family fights, the absurd crush of people you didn’t need to see at your hometown bar on Thanksgiving Eve, the high probability the Macy’s balloons will come to life and conquer the planet. Still, we think a holiday dedicated to eating, drinking, and napping still has merit. Have fun, good luck, and remember that we’ll be here to lift your spirits during our regular public hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Our tap list is below, but there’s always a chance it’ll change so be sure to check our board and ask your bartender to see what’s new. Beer tokens can be purchased for $5 or 5 for $20, which is one of the best deals in the city.

Draft | 1 token each (unless indicated)

Cask Offering |

No cask this weekend, sorry!

Bottle Pours | 3 tokens each (4 tokens for Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment pours), includes a complimentary Souvenir Logo Glass.

Local 1 (9.0% ABV)
Local 2 (9.0% ABV)
Sorachi Ace (7.6% ABV)
Ama Bionda (6.0% ABV)- two tokens
Black Chocolate Stout (10% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Hand & Seal (13.3% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Tripel Burner (10.6% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Quintaceratops (10.9% ABV)
Extremely Limited: Serpent (9.5%) *Four tokens with complimentary Souvenir Logo Glass

The Weekly Sixer: November 18

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Live By The ‘Gun, Die By The ‘Gun: Two men named Dimitri and Joe have made a pact to shotgun a beer together, in the global sense, every single day. On December 3, they’ll round Shotgun 1,000, cementing their glory and proving their love of one another and liquid physics alike. The bros shotgunning has spanned international business trips, holidays, and trips to the emergency room, elevating them to a level secret handshakes only dream of.

Beer Needs Your Help: Four Pittsburgh men have come together to open America’s first ever beer museum, citing the importance of beer and brewing in human history and our nation’s history alike. This is more than your dorm room wall of bottles: their plans call for a 50,000 square foot facility stocked with interactive exhibits and personalized tours. Their Indiegogo campaign is just under half funded, so be sure to send a round’s worth their way by Thanksgiving.

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World’s Youngest Beer Somm Is Too Young To Vote: The world’s youngest beer sommelier is a sixteen-year-old from Germany named Luis Sailer. Luis comes from a long line of brewers, and says he is dedicated to encouraging drinkers to educate themselves on the vast offerings of the world of beer and making sure their beverages are made with the finest ingredients. No word on if John Hughes has retained the film rights to his life story, but can someone check on John Cusack just in case?

Fix Your Wine: Inspired by many bouts of wine headaches, father-son duo David and Derek Meadows have come up with a way to improve your wine: The Wand. For $2, you can dunk their device into your glass and remove up to 95% of the sulfites and histamines found in your wine in a few minutes. It sounds like something Billy Mays would have loved, and at $2 a pop, why not give it a try?

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Geek Moment: Ever wanted a physicist to explain beer to you? What if we promised it was worth it? Read on for University of Chicago physicist Dave McCowan’s explanation of the science behind beer bubbles for The A.V. Club. We know you’re not doing work on the Friday before Thanksgiving anyway– might as well learn something.

Raise A Glass to The Queen of Williamsburg: We are saddened to report that Leonora Russo, the renowned Queen of Williamsburg and treasured neighbor, has passed away. Her undeniable style and friendliness made her a fixture in our corner of Brooklyn for over sixty years, and she will be missed. Cheers to the Queen.

Tap That Glass: November 18

It’s a big week of changes here in our Tasting Room. Cold-weather favorite Insulated Dark Lager and the limited sweet orange peel pale ale Naranjito have ascended to the taps for you to sink into. Best of all, we have a sparkling new cask engine with a fresh firkin of Best Bitter ready to be cranked straight into your glass. This engine means we’ll be serving plenty of real ale as quickly as we can turn them out, so stay tuned for some new concoctions and what we like to think of as “unplugged” versions of our favorites.

Also, Metallica has a new album out that rips. If you’re into that, you’re already having a great weekend.

Our tap list is below, but there’s always a chance it’ll change so be sure to check our board and ask your bartender to see what’s new. Beer tokens can be purchased for $5 or 5 for $20, which is one of the best deals in the city.

Draft | 1 token each (unless indicated)

Cask Offering | 1 token

Best Bitter (5% ABV) It can be a challenge to truly call something the best. What defines “bestness,” armchair philosophers ask? In this case, it’s because the beer is delicious, silky and soothing, and we’re right. Quiet your brain and enjoy. Created by Eric Brown.

Bottle Pours | 3 tokens each (4 tokens for Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment pours), includes a complimentary Souvenir Logo Glass.

Local 1 (9.0% ABV)
Local 2 (9.0% ABV)
Sorachi Ace (7.6% ABV)
Ama Bionda (6.0% ABV)- two tokens
Black Chocolate Stout (10% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Hand & Seal (13.3% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Tripel Burner (10.6% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Quintaceratops (10.9% ABV)
Extremely Limited: Serpent (9.5%) *Four tokens with complimentary Souvenir Logo Glass

The New York City Brewers Guild Wants You To Watch Hockey

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The New York City Brewers Guild is a gathering of more than thirty local breweries dedicated to bringing you top quality, fresh local beer, educating drinkers, and throwing some seriously excellent parties to do it.

They’re the heroes behind breakthroughs behind the NYC Beer Trail app. The ones who bring Blocktoberfest to life every year. Perhaps most importantly, they’re the ones making New York City one of the greatest beer cities on the planet, and making sure you always have access to some of the freshest, most delicious beer around.

And of course, they put on NYC Beer Week every February. For one glorious week, well over 100 bars, restaurants, grocers, bottle shops and holes-in-the-wall fill the city with beer-centric tours, dinners, parties, tap takeovers, and downright joyful celebrations of our favorite beverage. But all of that partying can’t happen without some help, and that’s where you, dear beer drinker, come in.

The New York City Brewers Guild has teamed up with the New York State Brewers Association to bring you an unprecedented raffle. Enter here by Sunday, November 27 and you could win a chance for you and 14 friends to take over a luxury box in the Barclays Center to watch the New York Islanders take on the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, December 4th. The box will come fully loaded with cold New York State craft beer and delicious snacks, ensuring even the most casual fan has an amazing night.

Proceeds from the raffle will go towards furthering the NYCBG and NYBA’s efforts to make New York beer the best it can be. Just think: for $10 a chance (or 3 for $25), you can personally and directly support some of the greatest brewers in your home state. Trust us, nothing makes beer better than community support. Get your tickets today, and enjoy the Barclays– we’ll see you at the bar cart.

In Class at the CIA: Dumping On Diacetyl

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The students at The Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA have moved on to recipe design in their classes, working closely with Head Brewer Hutch Kugeman to bring their beers to life on the page before they can be brewed for the first time. The class beer this semester will be a robust Scotch ale, to be brewed just in time for the weather to get good and cold in the Hudson Valley. But part of designing recipes and thinking about beer critically is thinking about its shortcomings and pitfalls. One of the most common is a slippery little chemical by the name of diacetyl.

Most beer drinkers will stumble on significant diacetyl in their time at bars. Its slippery, buttery, caramel-if-you’re-lucky characteristics can catch even the most unaware drinker off guard. If you have been trained to look for it as an off flavor, every new bar has a moment of hesitation on your first pint. Some years ago, I went to dinner with my family at an unnamed restaurant in New York City. My dad and I both received pints that were nearly swimming with diacetyl. It was the first time I have ever sent a beer back in a restaurant, but I couldn’t handle the overwhelming slick on my tongue. My dad watched the exchange with a furrowed brow, holding his questions until the waiter left. “What exactly was it that bothered you there?”

I explained diacetyl to him with some reluctance, knowing full well that I was about to forever tamper with how he drank beer. This was borne out when he tasted his beer again and said, in a bizarrely cheery tone, “Say, that does taste like popcorn butter. You’ve ruined my life!”

And so I had. Whenever he tries a new beer, my dad will usually send me a text reviewing it. Often as not these are choppy since he’s supposed to be paying attention to a work event, so they’re limited to “wow!” or “this stinks!” But if there’s a hair too much diacetyl, I’ll get the full read: “Tasted like that buttery crap!”

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Diacetyl is not always the villain. And to be clear, my dad is not Alan Rickman, or a table-flipper by nature. The chemical can arise from one of three paths:

  1. During fermentation. Yeast produces a compound called aplpha acetolactate during fermentation, which is converted to diacetyl as the beer ages. If the beer is left to ferment on live yeast for a couple weeks, the yeast can break down and remove most of the diacetyl on its own.
  2. Mutant yeast. Brewers yeast can be susceptible to mutations that impair its ability to use oxygen. These “respiratory mutants” are unable to remove diacetyl from the beer during rest, so it hangs out and ruins the beer.
  3. Bacteria. The pediococcus bacteria loves to hang out in beer, and pays rent in the form of high levels of diacetyl. Given the right circumstances, pediococcus can produce sourness desirable in lambics and similar styles, but is extremely difficult to handle. This bacteria is present in improperly sanitized brewing equipment and poorly maintained tap lines, among other places.

Given so many points of vulnerability, it is no surprise that most beers contain at least a bit of diacetyl. In some styles, like English IPAs and certain pilsners, its smooth texture is even prized. Winemakers particularly interested in slippery, buttery Chardonnays will go out of their way to encourage diacetyl to develop in their wines. Much like political humor, a little goes a long way unless you’re in very specific company.

Where does all of that leave you, the drinker? Seeing as you’re reading this on the blog of a craft brewery, it’s a fair guess that you can identify diacetyl already. The next time you taste it, don’t shriek and fling your glass away. Consider the overall impact of the chemical on the beer: does the texture improve? Is the hoppy edge slightly blunted? It may be that this ornery little bugger is there to improve your drink, not ruin your day.

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But what if it does ruin the beer? What if the butterscotch aromas run up and kick the nose off your face? What if a single sip blows your head back and makes your eyes roll to the back of your head? First off, try a glass of water. Second, return that thing, but return it politely. Tell your bartender that something tastes off about the beer and ask to replace it with another. Make sure you tip them well. The bartender will take care of looking into the lines’ cleanliness, and hopefully your next visit will go better.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to consider the other two possibilities: the bar doesn’t care, or the brewery has an issue. In the first case, start ordering your beer in bottles during your visits or find a place that does care. If the other lines taste fine, or you encounter the beer elsewhere with a similar issue, shoot the brewery a polite email or Facebook message. Brewers want to improve their beer, and as long as you’re not another yelling jackass online, they’ll be happy to engage with you privately to work on what happened.

If you’ve read through all of this and thought, “well, I’ve never encountered any of that,” allow me to apologize: I’ve just ruined your drinking life the same way I messed up my dad’s career. I promise this is still fun, as long as you remember to handle diacetyl effectively when you encounter it in your beer. In the meantime, enjoy yourself, and really– remember to tip that bartender well.

The Weekly Sixer: November 11

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McSorley’s Shuttered by DOH: The oldest operating bar in New York City was closed by the Department of Health this week, citing unsafe food prep conditions, “rat activity,” and a continuing commitment to not having any fun. We’re hoping for two outcomes here: a fresh, dust-free start for McSorley’s quite soon, and a killer punk band named Rat Activity.

Speaking of Cleaning: A bartender named Geordie Dobson in Keno City, Yukon, has successfully covered his entire house in beer bottles after he accrued 32,000 empty bottles over the course of two years. We admire Dobson’s commitment, but not nearly as much as we admire the fortitude of the year-round population of Keno City, which hovers between 13 and 25 people. You folks are doing some serious work up there, and we salute you.

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The Future Is Now: Belgian scientist Dr. Kevin Verstrepen has announced multiple breakthroughs in creating genetically modified yeast, pushing our favorite microbe to new heights of efficiency, flavor creation, and productivity. While his experiments are interesting, brewers are meeting the idea with resistance based in the fact that such modifications “take the magic out of brewing.” We’re mostly afraid of being attacked by superpowered microbes, but magic sounds much more sensible.

In Other Genetic News: Jonathan Mendes became perhaps the oldest finisher of the New York City Marathon last weekend at the age of 96, and celebrated the event with his daily tradition: a shot of Scotch. Mendes is a decorated Marine veteran, former astronaut trainer, and perhaps the most straight-up badass person in the news this week. He is also likely in better shape than most of us, but let’s not focus on that.

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Brush Up on Black: Just in time for colder weather, take a minute with this primer on dark beer styles and get your porters, stouts, and so forth sorted out. Just remember the rule of thumb of beer knowledge: when it comes to sharing in public, a little goes a long way.

Take Care Of One Another: And take care of yourselves. That’s it.