Author Archives: Tim Rozmus

The Weekly Sixer: May 27

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Evil Empire, Chapter Gazillion: In a colorful series of abbreviations, the EU OK’d the proposed AB InBev/SABMiller merger we’ve been hearing so much about over the past few years. The companies would be required to divest or spin off some of their larger assets in Europe, similar to their requirements in Asia, but this still puts us one step closer to a world in which one massive conglomerate controls ~30% of the world’s beer. It’s not the best idea we’ve ever heard for an 80′s movie villain, but it’s close.

Beer School By The Sea: UCLA has added a course called A Class of Beer: An Overview of the Craft Brewing Renaissance, serving as “an introduction to the craft beer movement for homebrewers, food-and-beverage professionals, or people who just like good beer.” Don’t rush to the applications yet, however– there’s already fifty people on the waiting list for the course, and all of them have a better tan than you.

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Gettin’ Foggy: San Francisco-based distillery Hangar 1 Vodka has debuted Fog Point Vodka, distilled from fresh water collected from the famous fogs of the Bay Area. The inital price is $125 a bottle, which would buy you three bottles of regular Hangar 1 Vodka with money to spare for ice, or roughly twelve beers (with tip) at Toronados on Lower Haight. But hey, who are we to judge?

Gettin’ Foggier: In further fog news, Chileans living in Atacama– credited as one of the planet’s driest locations, earning the title of “absolute desert”– has harnessed the power of the ominous morning fogs known as “The Darkness” to provide irrigation, drinking water, and brewing water to the surrounding area. This technology also shines a light on the viability of Star Wars worlds like Tatooine and Jakku, which thrills us to our nerdy cores.

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Bourbon Booms: Thanks to bourbon’s surging popularity in recent years, distillers are working overtime to be certain they have enough to go around. Bourbon production grew 44% in the past year, ensuring years of sweet, soothing brown liquor for years to come. See, just when you think the world’s all tough spots and barnacles, something nice happens!

A Tribute: *GAME OF THRONES SPOILER* But sometimes, there’s pain. We’d like to doff our caps and raise our glasses to dear Hodor, of Game of Thrones fame and great cheer, for his sacrifice in last week’s episode. We can only hope he died well, and doesn’t become literally the biggest White Walker in Westeros. And Bran, if you can greensight this: quit messing with people’s reality.

Tap That Glass: May 27

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Memorial Day Weekend is here, and it looks like summer weather has come along with it. Please keep in mind we’re closed on Monday for the holiday, but we’ll be here all weekend with plenty of cold beer to match the hot weather. Take the time to stock up on 12 packs of American Ale cans– they’re the perfect call for quite a few reasons this 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: Wild Streak (10% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: K is for Kriek (10.1% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Improved Old Fashioned (12.8%)

A Brewery Continues to Grow in Brooklyn

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Saturday, May 28 will mark our twentieth year in our Williamsburg home. We’ll be celebrating during our Public Hours, with co-founder Steve Hindy behind the bar and a few other surprises to mark the special day. But we’ll also remember how much has in the decades since we moved to North 11th Street. What was once a largely forgotten, dangerous neighborhood has been transformed into one of the most vibrant areas of New York City.

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We first came to Williamsburg in 1991, moving into a warehouse across the street from our current brewhouse. In 1994, our current home became available, so founders Steve Hindy and Tom Potter and freshly enlisted Brewmaster Garrett Oliver stepped in to transform the once-abandoned building into a production center. The photo above shows Garrett in the room that is now our brewhouse. Note the gentleman on the scissor lift, clad in a full-body safety suit; it appears Garrett was impervious to whatever danger was floating in the air. One tends to feel that way when dressed as The Highlander.

Our building was far from the only ignored property in the area. Years of industrial and economic stagnation had turned much of Williamsburg into a graveyard of battered warehouses and rickety postwar homes. Our street in particular was seen as a dangerous area. Steve, often first into the office, felt that he was greeted with a smoldering car, likely reported stolen and burned for insurance money, “at least a few times a month.” Truck drivers stoutly refused to deliver after dark. Police officers only entered the neighborhood in groups, often with one hand on their weapons.

“It just wasn’t the sort of place you came to,” Garrett says. “You didn’t want to drive on the streets, there was nowhere to grab lunch during the workday. If you were hanging out there, you had to have a pretty good reason to not be anywhere else.”

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Garrett just after installing our 25-barrel Newlands brewhouse system. Yes, he’s wearing a fireman’s jacket.

Fortunately, building a brewery was a pretty good reason to come to the neighborhood. Our earliest workers found food, comfort and company at establishments like Kasia’s on Bedford Avenue, Teddy’s on Berry Street (also our first account), and a handful of small businesses that were starting to push their way through the shuttered facades of the area. This was the first wave of new interest in Brooklyn. Young artisans, artists and creatives turned to Brooklyn to tap into its rich history and affordable living spaces. Slowly, the neighborhood began to change.

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The day of the ribbon cutting on our new facility, Mayor Rudy Giuliani (above center, in the red and blue tie) arrived and spoke to the crowd of press, family and friends. He spoke of a new era for Brooklyn, of the jobs the brewery would bring, and the promise of an industrial brewery in New York City. He also pulled Steve Hindy next to him and razzed the gathered reporters, saying “I want all you reporters to take a look at this man. He used to be a reporter, but now he is making an honest living.”

To the relief of everyone in the crowd, the ceremony was followed by the official opening of the Brooklyn Brewery Tasting Room. Everyone, including our fearless leaders, raised a considerable number of celebratory pints. At about six PM, several hours into the merrymaking, Steve was moved by the power of beer and gratitude alike to shout to the assembled crowd: “From now until we run out, FREE BEER!”

The crowd cheered, only to have their hopes dashed when Tom Potter clambered hastily on top of the bar and called. “We’re out of beer! Thanks!” It was a slight disappointment, but probably saved us from running out of stock for a few weeks.

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It seems surprising that twenty years have already passed since we’ve taken up residence in Williamsburg. Our once-barren neighborhood is a cultural center, home to countless bars, restaurants, artists, pizza places, and other terrific spots. Our brewhouse and cellar expanded several times, our Tasting Room hosted more raucous parties than can ever be counted (or accurately remembered), and our company has grown from a hardscrabble little brewery to a craft beer mainstay.

Even as we continue to grow around the world (and into the Brooklyn Navy Yard), we’re always thankful for our home on North 11th Street. Brooklyn will always be our home, and we’re happy we’ve gotten a chance to share it with so many beer drinkers around the world. If you haven’t visited yet, be sure to visit soon– the 28th is sure to be a party of historic proportions.

Be Cool with Bel Air

Foto: Studio Emma Svensson
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Source: gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes

“Cool” is difficult to define. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to actually be cool and so easy to look like just another poser, an important lesson most people seem to learn through grade school trauma. But there is an undeniable pull to coolness. That calm, confident, devil-may-care demeanor catches something deep within our psyches. It manifests itself in black leather jackets, surf rock, and that one friend who seems to always know where the parties are. Unfortunately, odds are you’re not that friend.

Personally, I have never been cool, and long ago gave up hope that I would be anything more than a point of contrast for the James Deans and Carrie Brownsteins of the world. But I have had my moments. Even in the most terminally nerdy depths of my band-geek, theater-dork, Muppets-obsessive little life, I’ve occasionally pulled off a denim jacket. I can crush Four Non Blondes at karaoke, keep up with the best of them at bar trivia, and my regular salad guy thinks I’m nice. Into all of our uncool lives, a little coolness still crops up from time to time, and we squares can live in those moments.

That’s where Bel Air Sour comes in.

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Simply put, Bel Air Sour tastes like being cool feels. It’s genuine, un-ironic, and surprisingly inviting. There’s a peachy, fruity tartness to it that feels like having someone compliment you on your choice of Hawaiian shirt. The eye-catching gold color turns your glass into a fashion statement. And that dry tang on the finish will make you finally realize how Prince could get away with being the last person to arrive at parties and the first to leave, even when those parties were at his house.

This cool, breezy beer could only be the result of two of Brooklyn Brewery’s coolest members: Brewmaster Garrett Oliver, and Lab Manager Drew Bombard. Garrett is a man so stylish his hat has a Twitter, and Drew is exists in a constant state of either just finished surfing or about to go surfing, even in the dead of winter. With Garrett on the recipe and Drew’s carefully cultivated Lactobacillus souring strain, there was no way they wouldn’t produce a beer that brought coolness to all.

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So now it’s up to you: Seek out some Bel Air Sour on tap near you soon. Put it in a glass you like, and blow off any haters scoffing at your Scooby-Doo pint. Take a sip, and feel that tangy reassurance in the back of your throat. Unfortunately, as a Brewmasters Reserve, Bel Air Sour is a limited release. Like all other cool moments, this coolness won’t last forever. But while it does, you’d better enjoy it. Go forth and be cool.

The Weekly Sixer: May 20

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Just Look At That Rooftop: Yes, we usually shy away from posting our own news in the Weekly Sixer. But folks, the Navy Yard space is awesome, and we’re stoked to finally be sharing it with you. Go look at those renderings again– some of them even feature what appear to be alternate-universe versions of Brooklyn employees!

OG Status: Carlsberg released a video this week announcing a project utilizing yeast from a 133 year old bottle of their beer to concoct the ultimate throwback lager. The bottle in question was apparently discovered in a storage cellar, which raises some questions about the past three generations of inventory managers. Still, we’re hoping that the project yields some sweet blast-from-the-past results.

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OG-OG Status: Tour d’Argent, one of the most respected restaurants in Paris, will be auctioning off a 200 year old bottle of Grande Fine Clos du Griffier Cognac that has been waiting for its time to shine since 1788, just before Jean Valjean stole that fateful loaf of bread. The bottle is expected to fetch over $500,000, to be funneled towards renovating the four hundred year old restaurant. Tour d’Argent claims to be the first place a fork was ever used, so it seems we owe them a significant debt (or in-depth investigation on forks.)

Sixers for the Sea: Florida-based Saltwater Brewery made waves this week when they announced a six-pack holder made of spent grain that would feed marine life if they ended up in the ocean, instead of strangling them like the old-school plastic rings. We’re particularly proud as our senior brewer Justin Rick is joining the Saltwater team in a few weeks, and we’re pleased to see he’s going to an outfit with such prominent focus on the environment. And since you’re wondering– no, we will not apologize for the “waves” pun.

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More from Mother Nature: In other natural news, Phillips Brewing and Malting Company of Vancouver is harnessing eagle power to deliver their latest beer. More specifically, one can of their new pilsner will be delivered to a lucky drinker by a four year old bald eagle named Hercules, as part of a partnership with Pacific Northwest Raptors. We can only hope other birds will join the effort to cut drones out of the aerial beer delivery market.

The Dive Bar Plight: In something of a Silent Spring for the drinking world, Matthew Sedacca brought attention to the dwindling number of dive bars still operating in America. He refers to true dives here: mildly dangerous, small-menu, ultimately comfortable holes in the wall that have kept generations at the very least well-watered. Take heed, and go forth to support your local spot by knowing your seat, paying in cash, and not hogging the jukebox.

Tap That Glass: May 20

Above Average at Brooklyn Brewery 4-14-16.

We like to pride ourselves in having an open and inviting Tasting Room here in Williamsburg. This week, we received extra validation when a mourning dove set up her nest on the windowsill next to your trusty’s author’s desk. If you’ve ever been on the fence about coming to see us, this should be a cue to you– if skittish mother birds are comfortable here, imagine what you, a beer-drinking human (or similar being) could get out of the experience. We’re fun!

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: Wild Streak (10% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: K is for Kriek (10.1% ABV)
Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment: Improved Old Fashioned (12.8%)

Billions of Bivalves

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In the early days of New York City, New York Harbor was home to 350 square miles of oyster beds—roughly half the oysters on the planet. The oysters lived quietly beneath the waves, filtering and cleaning the waters around us. Locals and visitors alike happily devoured them from dockside carts and in fine restaurants, brewed beer with them (yes, really– they were particularly prized in stouts and porters), and used the shells to improve street drainage. Sadly, centuries of overfishing and pollution laid the mighty oyster low, and the beds lay empty.

But in true New York fashion, the oysters are making a comeback. Billion Oyster Project is an ecosystem restoration and education project with the mission of restoring a sustainable oyster population and reigniting a passion and appreciation for New York Harbor by engaging New Yorkers directly in the work of restoring one billion oysters to our waters. They’ve already grown 16 million water-cleansing oysters and are re-introducing New Yorkers and our visitors to the city’s harbor and waterways.

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In support of the project, we’re reviving the once-common oyster beer in our Billion Oyster Saison. It’s a pale, bright farmhouse ale with 20 oysters per barrel adding just a whiff of fresh sea breeze. The proceeds from this beer go to support the good works that BOP are doing and the environmental education of school children. The oysters in Billion Oyster Saison aren’t NYC oysters, but with your help, some day they can be. In the meantime, try the Double Oyster—a pint of Billion Oyster Saison and a dozen oysters. Oyster karma is awesome too.

For those of you taking notes, here’s the vitals on Billion Oyster Saison:
Malts: Pilsner
Hops: Challenger, Styrian Goldings, Aurora
Yeast: Our House Belgian Ale Yeast
Additions: Whole oysters
ABV: 4.5%
OG: 10.6° Plato
Format: Draft only
Availability: Very limited

Bigger, Badder, Brooklyn-er

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Hold on to your koozies, gang– there’s a lot of cool stuff coming to Brooklyn.

We’re proud to officially announce that we will be taking up residence in the newly renovated Building 77 in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard. We’ll be opening a brewery on the ground floor, right next to our good friends at Russ & Daughters and close to our Barrel Aging Facility in Building 269, and opening a truly massive beer garden on the roof, all by early 2018.

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Marvel Architects’ rendering of the new street entrance of Building 77.

Imagine that: stop in on the ground floor and go, “wow, those tanks sure are shiny!” Take a tour of the brewery from a walkway above the brewhouse and say, “goodness, look at all of those hoses!” Then pop in an elevator, step off into a garden on the roof of the sixteenth floor, gaze over the Manhattan skyline and all of Brooklyn laid out before you, sip a beer, and scream something unprintable from sheer glee. Like “DADGUMMIT,” but with more salt.

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Davis Brody Bond’s rendering of the rooftop beer garden, including prime space for playing cornhole.

(Our offices will also be on the ninth floor of the building, but we figure we’re the only ones who are excited about getting new conference rooms and more spinny desk chairs.)

It’s a huge moment for us, and it’s a momentous occasion for the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Since it was decommissioned in 1966, the Yard has worked hard to provide a space for industrial businesses, but there is a growing list of reasons to visit. Our move, along with Russ & Daughters, Brooklyn Grange, Brooklyn Roasting Company, Mast Brothers Chocolate, and many more to come, signifies a new era for the hardest working section of New York City. View-1 png

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Davis Brody Bond’s renderings of the view from the ground floor of Building 77.

We already know your first question, and no, we’re not leaving Williamsburg. Remember a few months ago, when everyone thought we were moving lock, stock, and brewers’ barrels to the Navy Yard? That was about twenty percent accurate. Our Williamsburg home on North 11th Street will still be a brewing center for us, and our Tasting Room will continue to host tours, events, and raucous public hours. You’ll just have to choose– Tasting Room, Building 77 brewhouse, or rooftop beer garden? (Hint: All of them.) Our Williamsburg leases are not up until 2025, but you can count on us staying here.

We’re also still planning to expand our brewing operations over the bridges to Staten Island, and we hope to have more details to share with you soon. We’re working with Davis Brody Bond on both our Staten Island facility and our spaces in the Navy Yard. They’re one of the leading design firms in the nation, pulling down over 200 major design awards for projects ranging from the National September 11 Memorial Museum to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Once we harness all of our brewhouses, we will be able to send forth even more Brooklyn Brewery beers across the country and around the world.

This is one of the most exhilarating times in Brooklyn Brewery history, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to share our plans with you. If you have any questions, you know where to find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and right here in Brooklyn.

Jimmy Geez is Meeting Your Burger Needs

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We love few things more than the beautiful balance of beers and burgers. Fortunately for you, Jimmy Geez agrees, and they’re celebrating American Craft Beer Week with a beer and burger special that’s worth a party of its own.

From Monday, May 16 to Sunday, May 22, stop in to Jimmy Geez in Haledon or Jimmy Geez North for a Bacon Double Cheeseburger and a pint of Brooklyn Brewery beer for just $9.95. In Brooklyn, it’s honestly tough to find just a burger for less than ten bucks, so we’re pretty taken with this deal.

The Haledon location will have Defender IPA on draft, while Jimmy Geez North will be offering Defender IPA, Blast!, Sorachi Ace and Summer Ale. That’s five different beers, available over the course of seven days. It’s up to you to pursue the higher elegance of each beer with the Jimmy’s burger.