Author Archives: Tim Rozmus

Brooklyn Brewery Heads to SXSW

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SXSW is packed to the rafters with music, food, technology, film, interactive displays and parties. We here at Brooklyn Brewery aren’t the sort to let a good party (or week of parties) pass us by, so we’re heading to Austin to join the fray. In addition to our big, fuzzy Countryfication 2.0 party on March 15, we’re heading to six other events throughout the week. Check out the details below and come hang with us.

Countryfication-2.0

3/16 NYC Tech Happy Hour hits the Austin WeWork space to bring a little New York to Austin with music, drinks and networking with tech professionals.

3/20-21 Music By The Slice Home Slice Pizza’s  annual charity day is back, uniting good music and delicious pizza to fund excellent work.

3/20 Portals sets up shop at SXSW to bring together artists, music, an immersive visual installation, food, drinks and beer for friends new and old.

3/21 Brooklyn Country Cantina brings on the bluegrass with their many-stringed lineup of fine young country bands.

There’s more parties and surprises on the way, so check back while you’re planning your SXSW route to find out where we’re headed next.

Garrett Explains What It’s All About to Edible Brooklyn

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Brooklyn Brewmaster Garrett Oliver is well known for his strong opinions on food, beer and hipster restaurant names. In a video interview with Edible Brooklyn, Garrett shares his philosophy on beer, his goals as a brewmaster and some of the intriguing projects going on here in Brooklyn. Our brewhouse crew also shows their stuff in the video as the Edible cameras go for a spin through our brewing and packaging lines. Check it all out above and follow Garrett on Twitter @garrettoliver for more from the brewmaster himself.

The Brooklyn Brewery Mash is Back

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The Brooklyn Brewery Mash is hitting the road for its third year of food, beer, and fun. What is the Mash, you ask? Aside from being the first step in the brewing process, it’s a worldwide tour we undertake to celebrate what’s next in eight cities around the world. You can expect surprise dinner parties, discussions on craft beer, screenings of some of the world’s best animated films, feasts, and plenty of other events, all accompanied by plenty of Brooklyn Brewery beers.

You don’t have to take our word for the fact that this festival is a good time. The Boston Examiner praised us, saying “The Mash brought beer lovers together for a good time…the people are what make the tour’s stops worth it.” Good Beer Hunting said, “A huge thanks to Brooklyn Brewery for putting together such an amazing number of thoughtful, focused events that help push our thinking forward in craft beer.” See what nice things some other folks thought of us here. 003_NOLA_slow_supper

This year we’re joined on the tour by partners including our old friends Dinner Lab, experts in pulling off unique meals in unexpected places; Brooklyn Beefsteak and their carnivorous dedication to beef and beer; All About Beer Magazine and their editor John Holl for our discussion series, The State of Craft Beer; the Found Footage Festival, letting us in on their wide collection of weird and woolly hits from the bargain bin; and Animation Block Party, bringing in some of the world’s best animated films for your viewing pleasure.

Check out the list below for tour and ticket sale dates for each city, then click over to the Mash site for the latest information and events in your city.

New Orleans: Tickets on sale February 25. Tour March 23- 29.
London: Tickets on sale March 18. Tour April 24- May 3.
Stockholm: Tickets on sale April 15. Tour May 24- 30.
Boston: Tickets on sale May 6. Tour June 15- 21.
Chicago: Tickets on sale July 1. Tour August 10- 16.
Washington, DC: Tickets on sale August 26. Tour October 5- 11.
Philadelphia: Tickets on sale September 9. Tour October 19-25.
Austin: Tickets on sale September 30. Tour November 9-15.

Brewmaster’s Reserve: Wild Horse Porter

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Brettanomyces yeast, or “Brett,” is a funky, barnyard-esque wild yeast that is quickly becoming one of the most popular wild yeasts in beer after spending years in relative obscurity. The offbeat yeast first came to prominence in the production of British porters in the 1800s, becoming so popular then that the name Brettanomyces literally translates to “the British yeast,” until it fell into disuse as brewers and beer drinkers grew wary of its wild character. Today Brett is in the midst of a revival, with modern brewers putting it to work on every style they can.

The experimentation swirling around Brett is thrilling, but we figured the time was ripe for a reminder of its days powering rich English porters. The original iteration of Wild Horse was a collaboration between Greg Engert of Bluejacket, Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing Company and Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver, all seeking to revive the intensely earthy flavors of those traditional porters. That version of the beer was brought to the 2014 SAVOR festival, much to the joy of the beer-and-food loving crowd. Fortunately, Wild Horse stuck in Garrett’s mind, and now it’s thundering back for you to get your share.

Wild Horse Porter re-joins us as a limited edition draft-only Brewmaster’s Reserve release. The full Brett fermentation strikes fast as hay-forward funk wafts from the glass, preceding flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, fresh fruit and caramel. It’s a complex, full-bodied beer that is still approachable to even those unfamiliar with Brettanomyces. When you encounter it, take your chance to ride on the wild side with us. Wild Horse Porter won’t be around for long.

Steve Hindy Gets Munchies

Steve Hindy at the Lebanon-Israeli Border in 1980.

After their visit with Vice President Joe Biden earlier this week, Vice needed someone even more interesting to speak with. Who better than their neighbor, Brooklyn Brewery co-founder and president Steve Hindy? Over on Munchies, Steve discusses his introduction to homebrewing in Saudi Arabia and early path to starting the Brooklyn Brewery with co-founder Tom Potter in 1988. See the opening of Steve’s story below, then check out the whole thing.

I’m the founder of The Brooklyn Brewery, but I owe my success in the beer business to an unlikely country, Saudi Arabia, where people have been publicly whipped and sometimes beheaded for producing and selling alcoholic beverages.

It’s kind of a strange story. For the first 15 years of my working life, I was a journalist. In February 1979, I landed in Beirut to become a Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press. A few months later, I was sent to Iran to cover the US hostage crisis. I was expelled from Iran, and I went back in 1980 with the Iraqi Army, when they invaded. I covered the civil war in Lebanon and was abducted in south Lebanon in 1980, but that’s another story.

I moved to Cairo in August 1981, and six weeks later, I was sitting behind Egyptian President Anwar Sadat when he was assassinated at a military parade on October 6.

This is where my homebrewing education began. (Read more.)

Brooklyn Meets the Baltics

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The Baltic States are in the grips of another blustery Northern European winter. Fortunately, Brooklyn Brewery is coming to provide some beer to stave off the chill from the Baltic Sea.

Brooklyn Lager, East IPA and Brown Ale bottles are already on the scene in Estonia and Lithuania. Latvia will first see Brooklyn Lager on draught and Brooklyn Lager, East IPA and Brown Ale bottles in mid-February.

Check out the list below to find out some of the first places where you can find Brooklyn Brewery beer in the Baltics.

Red Emperor Bar
Kivi Paber Käärid
Mack Barbecue
Laagri Maksimarket
Järve Selver
Sikupilli Prisma
Solaris Toidupood
Vynoteka
Rimi
Prisma
GAP (Gero alaus parduotuve)

K is for Kriek, G is for Garrett

Photo courtesy Marilynn K. Yee, The New York Times

The Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment is a collection of limited-edition beers that take a little extra time, energy and trust in the unknown to pull off. I sat down with Brooklyn Brewmaster Garrett Oliver to hear his thoughts on the next BQE release: K is for Kriek.

Garrett Oliver first tried kriek in 1984. Back then, Garrett’s style tended more towards black leather and motorcycle boots for his jobs managing rock bands and producing concerts in England. A train trip through Eastern Europe landed Garrett at a bar in Ostend, Belgium, where he spotted a glass of kriek on a nearby table.

Photo courtesy of Stefano Giovannini

Photo courtesy of Stefano Giovannini

“It was such a vibrant shade of red, I was immediately curious about it.” Garrett says, “I remember pointing at the glass and going, ‘whatever that is, I’ll try some.’” Still a relative newcomer to traditional, non-industrial beers, he was bowled over by the tart, dry concoction in front of him. It was his first step in examining the kriek style, a brewing tradition that stretches back hundreds of years.

The word “kriek” is Belgian Flanders for “cherry,” which over time has become nearly synonymous with several beer styles brewed with or aged on cherries. The base beers tend to be lambics or sour browns, whose naturally funky flavors and relatively low alcohol content provide a perfect companion for the bright acidity of the cherries. People have been enjoying krieks for generations with all sorts of savory, earthy foods that come together with the marriage of sweet, tart and sour. Garrett is just one of many brewers throughout history who have become enamored with the mysteries of kriek, but he is definitely the first to implement the distinctly American brewing practices that make K is for Kriek unique to Brooklyn Brewery.

Garrett and the brewing team began to develop a kriek-style beer as a way of pushing themselves as brewers. “It’s a challenging style that not many people have tinkered with much,” Garrett says. “We wanted to pay homage [to kriek], but really put something of ourselves into it as well.” The team selected Brooklyn Brewery Local 2 to be their base beer. Garrett felt the dark abbey ale was a notable departure from traditional lambic- or sour brown-based krieks well worth exploring.

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Photo courtesy of Jeremy Roux

“A lot of people have mistakenly branded me as a ‘style Nazi’ of sorts over the years,” he says. “In truth, a lot of what we brew here pushes the lines and walks outside of strict style guidelines. With Local 2, we were able to incorporate the rich, caramelly sort of sweetness that the candi sugar brings along. We knew those flavors would play really well with the cherries. Sure, it’s not traditional, but why not try it?”

Another staunchly American spin was the decision to age K is for Kriek in second-use bourbon barrels. The barrel choice has a strong role in the beer as a deep, vanilla-oak flavor that counters the tartness of the cherries. Our love of bourbon barrels is well-known, as seen in a certain unspoken imperial stout and several BQE releases. Infusing the kriek heritage with a Brooklyn Brewery tradition struck Garrett as an irreverent way to build K is for Kriek.

Photo courtesy of Brett Casper

Photo courtesy of Brett Casper

He consulted with his friend Vinnie Cilurzo, brewmaster and barrel expert at Russian River Brewing, to pick Vinnie’s brain about the peculiarities that came along with fermenting beer in barrels filled with cherries. Vinnie and the Russian River team have been producing some of the best barrel-aged beers in the world for over fifteen years. Their Supplication, aged on sour cherries in Pinot Noir barrels, was another kriek-style beer that inspired Garrett. Even with Vinnie’s knowledge, Garrett still found out some lessons the hard way.

“At one point he was talking about having a second hole drilled in the barrel heads to make removing the beer easier. I said, ‘Vinnie, these barrels are already full,’ and he paused and goes, ‘…well, good luck with cleanup then.’ We ended up drilling right into the full barrel heads and hoping the vacuum of the existing bung would prevent it from being too much of a mess. It…well, it mostly worked.” Their experimental brew safely bottled with champagne and Brettanomyces yeasts, Garrett and his crew settled into the waiting game as the beer developed within the bottles.

“At first, the cherries were quite strong. It was really like a soda when we first tried it.” Garrett says. “After five or six months, it [had] really arrived.” This first iteration of Kriek joined our Ghost Bottle collection, a series of unreleased beers that only appear at very special brewery events. The team was pleased, but wanted to push their skills even further. They took their new knowledge of kriek and fiddled with the original formulas. They were getting close to the last of the hurdles in their experiment.

“We figured on just over twenty pounds of cherries per barrel at that point,” Garrett recalls. “The cherries had fluctuated a bit, and we found the dried cherries from that year were a little leaner and a little more acidic, so we had to take that into account. We also brought in a new Brettanomyces strain to really punch up that presence a bit more and stand up to the cherries. Then we barrelled them up and said ‘well, here goes nothing!’”

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That “nothing,” barrelled all the way back in October 2013, has turned out to be very much something. K is for Kriek is already a runaway hit among the early tasters at The Brooklyn Brewery, and the team behind it is anxious to introduce the world to their latest special. Despite the fact that K is for Kriek has just hit the shelves, Garrett isn’t taking time to rest on his laurels. Instead, he’s thinking about what this successful experiment means for Brooklyn Brewery.

“We have an incredible barrel program, with Molly Browning at the head. You couldn’t ask for someone better.” Garrett says, “We’ve got some really interesting stuff tucked away and we’re all excited to see where it goes.”

Sorachi Ace’s New Suit

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Brooklyn Sorachi Ace has been a beloved beer since its debut as a limited edition Brewmaster’s Reserve back in 2009. It was the first time that the rare Sorachi Ace hop had been featured in a beer, and people went wild for it. The lemongrass-and-dill hop aroma, the lively, citrusy body, and the whiplash-dry finish of our flashy new saison quickly became the most-shouted order at our Tasting Room. It wasn’t long before we welcomed Sorachi Ace to our lineup full time, both on draft and as one of our prized big bottle releases.

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Sorachi Ace has continued to gain discerning disciples since those heady early days, inspiring obsession, taking reviews to poetic heights and converting masses to the way of the Sorachi Ace hop. Through all the hubbub, one question kept popping up and growing louder and louder: why wasn’t this beautiful beer in 12oz bottles?

You talked. You shouted. I personally raised a protest right in our offices. And now, our requests are finally fulfilled: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is now available in 12oz bottles.

Whether you’re new to the world of Sorachi Ace or you’ve been one of the faithful for years, these new bottles are a game changer. Grab a four pack from the store and introduce it to your friends. Order a bottle at the bar and immediately find yourself the best-looking person in the room. You can even take the four pack directly home from the store and be the best looking person in your own house. We’re happy to bring Sorachi Ace to a new, handsome era for all.

If you haven’t come across our dashing new Sorachi Ace four packs yet, search here for some help. Let us know how much you enjoy the new bottle with a post, Tweet or photo and enjoy Sorachi Ace’s new suit.

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National Lager Day Goes Global (to Finland!)

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We’re sure you’ve already begun your National Lager Day festivities (and if you haven’t, get started.) It’s a day to rejoice for all the crisp, smooth goodness a well-made lager can bring to your life. Not to mention appreciating Brooklyn Lager, our first beer ever and still our flagship.

As you enjoy your observatory Brooklyn Lager or crack open your other favorites, take a moment to send a toast to our friends in Finland as they celebrate bringing Brooklyn Lager on draft to their country for the first time. The Finns have been drinking plenty of bottled Brooklyn Brewery beers over the past few years, but we’re thrilled to add even more to their taprooms and restaurants.

From New York to Finland and beyond, happy National Lager Day, no matter which nation you call home.

In Finland and thirsty for a Brooklyn Lager on draft? Find it at these fine establishments, with more to come:

  • Ravintola Skogster
  • Namaskaar Bistro
  • Maja
  • Grotesk Ravintola
  • Mr. Don
  • Gloria Ravintola
  • Bull Bar & Grill
  • City Hospoda Ravintola
  • Kallion Seurahuone
  • Hemingway’s Rovaniemi
  • Rblu Vaasa Hotel O’Maleys
  • Fondis Ravintola
  • Beer-Hunters Panimoravint
  • Konttori Olutravintola
  • Tartan
  • Molotow Bar & Cafe
  • Vanha Monttu
  • Pub Simon
  • Bar K
  • Public House Pivo
  • Paapan Kapakka
  • Passion Tampere
  • The Old Bank
  • Sture Ravintola
  • Sling In Bar
  • O’Haras
  • Cup & Pint
  • Rantakerttu
  • Karjalantalo/Kerubi Kultt
  • Never Grow Old
  • Baker’s Tempo
  • Brygga Baari
  • Hrh Ravintola
  • Three Beers
  • Kuja Bar Bistro
  • Wanha Posti
  • Telakka Ravintola
  • Paino Baari
  • Mallaskukko Ravintola
  • Olutravintola Jano
  • Woolpack Ravintola
  • Graali
  • Klubi
  • Havana Bar & Coffee
  • El Jefe Ravintola
  • Kohina Baari
  • Linko Ravintola
  • High Level Bar
  • Le Bonk Music Hall
  • Tavastia Ravintola
  • Ravintola Wanha Tappi
  • Kirjankauppa Ravintola
  • Fellows Bar
  • Milli Miglia
  • Harald Pub
  • Ohranjyva Ravintola
  • Lab Bar
  • Walters Pub Tyrvaa
  • Palaveri Cafe Bar
  • Oliver’s Corner Rovaniemi
  • Harry’s Ravintola
  • Oluthuone Pekko
  • Kaijakka
  • Naantalin Kylpyla Keskusv
  • Alvar
  • Pippurmylly
  • O’Leary’s Forum
  • Oluthuone Leskinen
  • Corner’s Pub
  • Surakan Baari
  • U2 Pihlis
  • Uusi Portti Ravintola
  • Salhojankadun Pub
  • St. Michael
  • Pikilinna Pub
  • Anton Cafe
  • Iltakoulu Ravintola
  • Sillansuu Olutravintola
  • Public Corner Keskustori
  • Green Door Pub
  • Opus K
  • Seurustelurav Kaskenkatu1
  • Ukko-Munkki Ravintola
  • Kokomo Tikibar & Room
  • Cosmic Comic Cafe
  • Oljenkorsi Ravintola
  • Bar 9
  • Aussie Bar Tampere
  • Pastor Ravintola
  • Toolon Savel Fin Bistro
  • Roska Tampere
  • Sointu Music Bar-Cafe
  • Kuka Bar
  • Sitko Pizza & Bar

Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager Brooklyn Beer Craft Beer Craft Brew