Category Archives: Festivals

Mash Files: Nashville

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Nashville may be the center of the country music universe, but its food and beer scene is making long cowboy-booted strides in a very positive direction. A new generation of chefs, brewers, artisans, farmers, and restaurateurs are creating dynamic spaces that capture the spirit of the south with a new Americana feel. Chefs like Brandon Frohne of Masons are reaching back to their Appalachian roots cooking historic driven food with a modern flair, while the folks at Dinner Lab are redefining the way people eat and interact with chefs, other guests and their surroundings at their secret pop up events all over town. New restaurateurs and bar owners are transforming neighborhoods like Germantown, 12 South, and East Nashville into hot destinations to relax with a beer, cocktail, or a great plate of food.

I had the distinct pleasure of Dining at Rolf and Daughters (again) for a taste of perfectly executed rustic pasta  incarnations, while our modern meal at Catbird Seat left me mesmerized. The young visionary duo behind Catbird Seat, the Goldberg brothers (not the goalie from Mighty Ducks, but I think a QUACK is in order anyway), have expanded their mini empire again and now have a serious bowling alley in there ensemble. As much as I love the lanes I would rather sit in the dimly lit speakeasy, The Patterson House, tucked below Catbird Seat sipping the finest cocktails I have ever imbibed. Even after a full detailed description of their makeup by my Buddy Drew Hargrove who crafts the spherical ice cubes I still could not wrap my head around their construction, but that did not stop me from stirring one around in my empty glass with the glee of a toddler for the better part of an hour. From honky tonks to fine dining these brothers are doing it right and creating platforms for talented chefs to shine and spaces for young up and comers to learn their craft.

The Goldbergs and Chef Trevor Moran are not the only folks pushing the culinary envelope and sharing what makes Nashville unique. Farmers like the folks at Green Door Gourmet at Hidden Valley Farm are educating young folks about farming practices. This second generation family farm boasts a beautifully renovated barn and a green house bursting at the seams with seedlings ready to hit the ground once this silly weather gives way to spring. Tim and Dylan at Carter Creek Greens are challenging the possibilities of what a farm can be. Tucked into a downtrodden warehouse strip of the city, Carter Creek Greens is growing micros for restaurants and collaborating with chefs to grow exactly what they are looking to feature on their menus and garnish their dishes with. I spent over an hour trying different batches, like tangerine lace, mustard greens, daikon radish, and red vein sorrel, pulling them straight from their grow medium and tasting their pungent flavors. I may just be a sucker for tiny seedlings that hold all the flavor and potential of what a plant can be in one tiny morsel, but I totally geeked out, and ordered a bunch of seeds and can’t wait to get my first crop of Tangerine Lace in a few weeks.

Beer geeks and average drinkers alike have something to cheers to these days as fourteen new Breweries have opened in Nashville over the last three years. This could not have happened without the help of the old guard. I had the pleasure of listening to a panel discussion with the leaders of the Nashville brew scene (the founders of Blackstone, Yazoo, and Jackalope) along with our very own Steve Hindy. As they discussed the tumults of starting a brewery, their commitment to craft, and the growing Nashville beer scene I could not help but trace similarities between them and all the other craftsmen, artisans and artists  I had met in my Mash Nash week, it was passion, perseverance, and joy. Everyone seems to love what they are doing, proud to provide a service to their fellow Nashvillians, and excited for the future. Nashville is a slow paced, but happening  place to relax and appreciate the simple things in life like good people, good food and good beer.

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Food Book Fair Back For A 3rd Year

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The Food Book Fair takes over a spring weekend, April 24-27th, at The Wythe Hotel with all things food and literary. Last year’s Food Book Fair was an acclaimed success; highlights included Foodieodicals, which will return this year, and The Resource Fair + Pitch Competition.

Bringing together more than 20 events, 200 books, and over 60 visionaries, you can count on this year’s fair to build on years’ past with events like The Brew Pub, The Food Book Slam & The Table of Contents: To Kill a Mockingbird Dinner. And although we’re biased, we expect that Food + Social Entrepreneurship, a discussion with our own president & co-founder Steve Hindy, will be pretty top notch as well. Check out the list of events we’ll be part of below. And prepare for your mind and belly to be well sated by fair’s end.

Pitch Competition: Food + Enterprise
Wythe Hotel Screening Room, April 25, 3:30pm
$15, tickets here.

Fledgling food businesses this one’s for you; think shark tank for sustainable food.

Opening Night: Food + Growing + Music
Wythe Hotel Screening Room, April 25, 6pm
$25, tickets here.

The fair’s opening night party will feature an interactive installation and live music.

Foodieodicals: A Foodie Zine Fest
Wythe Hotel Screening Room, April 26, 12pm
$5, tickets here.

Food + Periodicals = Foodieodicals. A festival within the fair celebrating creative food publishing, featuring more than 20 of our favorite inspiring food publications

Tables of Contents: To Kill a Mockingbird
Egg Restaurant, April 26, 7pm
$100, tickets here.

Inspired by the novel, this southern dinner will feature wine and Brooklyn Brewery beer pairings.

Food + Social Entrepreneurship
Wythe Hotel Screening Room, April 27, 2pm
$15, tickets here.

Steve Hindy, Brooklyn Brewery Co-Founder and President, will take part in  a conversation about launching and leading socially conscious businesses.

Brew Pub
Wythe Hotel Main Event Hall, April 27, 2pm & 6pm
$30, tickets here.

Brew Pub (Reprise), in which artist Eric Steen invites 20+ NYC homebrewers to share their normally private passion with the public

Umami: Talk + Tasting
Wythe Hotel Screening Room, April 27, 5pm
$50, tickets here.

A tasting event focused on umami with biophysicist Ole Mouritsen and veggie-forward
chef duo Chez Jose

 

 

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Your Brooklyn Brewery Guide to SXSW

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Combining film, interactive, and music festivals, SXSW is one of the premier arts festivals in the country, and we here at Brooklyn Brewery didn’t want to be left out of the fun. In addition to our Countryfication party, we’ll be at six others events throughout the week, and we hope to see you there. Check out the details below:

3/8: Makers Night, hosted by BKLYN1834, lets you get up close and personal with a 3D printer (which will be making Brooklyn Brewery swag throughout the night) while you listen to music from Boxcar Bandits.

3/12: Brixton Agency & Run For Cover Records Showcase takes over the Liberty for a double-header showcase.

3/12: SXSuds Tunes & Brews Fest at Whip In is for lovers for beer and music. Have a beer while you catch some music from Lollipop Records & Burger Records.

3/13: The Liberation SX 2014 brings four independent labels (Gold Robot, Small Plates, Inflated, & Father/Daughter) to The Liberty from 7pm-2am.

3/14-15: Music by the Slice is a two-day music extravaganza with over fifteen bands. All beer sales during the event go directly to Urban Roots, so drink up.

3/15: Brooklyn Country Cantina at Licha’s Cantina promises two outdoor stages full of Americana, country, and roots music from 11am-2am.

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Countryfication @ SXSW

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SxSW is upon us! That great boondoggle of a tech / film / music conference in Texas is back and we’re already on our way. For the last couple of years, one of the ubiquitous topics to around SXSWi is “Gamification“. Web programmers, manufacturers and marketers ask themselves, “How can we engage everyone in a fun way that will keep them coming back for more?” “How do we incentivize the experience of being a consumer so people get excited?” Insert some question about “millennials” and the “internet” and “demographics”, and you can call it a day.

Here at Brooklyn Brewery, we respond to such questions by returning to one of our core competencies:  throwing parties, year after year.

This year, we ask you to take a break from all your data crunching and outside-the-box tech brainstorming. Take off your wearable tech and come enjoy “Countryfication”, a strategic mix of barnyard animals, rural cookout games, beer, and Texas. We’ll be providing free beer from 2pm – 3pm.  Food 52, a community of home cooks that hang out online and in real life, will be on hand for a homemade cornbread swap. The Tiny Tails To You team are bringing a petting zoo and some “gamified” animal attractions so there will be plenty of opportunities for behavioral research that you can take back to your office recap meetings after the festival.

Here’s the skinny, y’all:
~One free hour of beer (2pm-3pm)
~Tiny Tails To You Petting Zoo (2pm-5pm)
~Chicken Shit Bingo
~Tortoise Vs. Hare Race (this is an actual animal race and not the name of a band from Bushwick)
~Live music from Leo Rondeau and Silas Lowe
~Cornhole
~Food 52 Cornbread Swap
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will be scooping up the good stuff—with Honey Cornbread Gravel on top.
~After Party with DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, 6pm – 10pm

Come hang out with us, and this guy, March 9th. RSVP here.

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Brooklyn Brewery Mash 2014

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The Brooklyn Brewery Mash, the nation’s largest travelling food & arts festival, is hitting 12 cities this year, starting off in Nashville, next week. Now in its second year, The Mash aims to present some of our favorite chefs, bands, comics, writers and, of course beer, in some of the most interesting places in the country (and two cities outside of the country). Whether from Brooklyn, Stockholm or Miami, our goal is to celebrate emerging talent.

NASHVILLE, TN: March 2 – 8
NEW ORLEANS, LA: March 30 – April 5
CHICAGO, IL: April 27 – May 3
STOCKHOLM, SWE: May 18 – 24
WASHINGTON, DC: June 1 – 7
PITTSBURGH, PA: June 22 – 28
LONDON, UK: July 27 – August 2
TWIN CITIES: August 10 – 16
PHILADELPHIA, PA:  September 28 – October 4
BOSTON, MA: October 12 – 18
MIAMI, FL: October 26 – November 1
AUSTIN, TX: November 16 – 22

This year we’ll have a full week of programming in each city. From presenting pop-up dinners in surprising locations with the best chefs and locally sourced ingredients, to a round table discussion on the growth and future of craft beer, The Mash attempts to bring you the best of what’s next on the cultural horizon.

Joining us on the road is Brooklyn Brewery Co-founder and President, Steve Hindy. Steve’s new book, Craft Beer Revolution, examines the rise of craft beer culture with the stories from the men and women who made it happen. There will be a panel discussions (paired w/local beer) with unfettered access to the insights and stories that only the leaders of this industry can provide.

Slow Super with Dinner Lab will be held at a surprise location with setting and music provided by local artists. Dinner Lab has quickly become the fastest growing members-only pop-up dinner club, and since we partnered with them for our Slow Supper in New Orleans, we’ve looked forward to every secret adventure they produce. Now we’re combining forces to present an evening of delicacy and delights, each one paired with a different Brooklyn beer.

Being stuck in the concrete jungle all year, Dinner on the Farm has to be one of our favorite concepts. Their focus is to create unique local food experiences designed to celebrate farms, chefs, breweries, and food entrepreneurs dedicated to good, sustainable food. And there’s no better feeling than watching a rusty sunset after a full meal with beer pairings.

Here in Brooklyn we’ve become a comedy mecca as the writers and comedians from your favorite shows have migrated from across the river to call Kings County home sweet home. At Brooklyn HA HA we’ll have the freshest faces of Brooklyn’s comedy scene pair up with local favorites, to tickle your funny bones. All of them. Them bones.

Mash Bash, our closing party, presents exciting local acts with some of Brooklyn’s young rock luminaries. We’ll have a food truck stationed outside and some local vendors inside to feature artisans of all industries. It’s like a very small, very cool music festival, except the beer will be cheaper and there will be no port-o-potties.

We’re doing an apparel collaboration in every city, starting off with imogene + willie in Nashville. We wanted to combine forces with manufacturers and brands in each city that represent more than just mass-produced merch. We support local businesses and it doesn’t hurt to look a tad cooler in the process.

Check out BrooklynBreweryMash.com for all the details of what’s going on in your neck of the woods.

Mash Bash & The Soul Clap National Championships

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Jonathon Toubin’s Soul Clap & Dance Off, the hottest dance party from the Gowanus to the Tappanzee, returns after a star studded tour through the heppest clubs our Brooklyn Brewery Mash tour saw on the road. After hours of sweat and blood poured onto 11 dance floors we’ve chosen our finalists. Each will be flown to Brooklyn and on February 22nd, we’ll be holding the Mash Bash. A multi-plated feast created in collaboration by Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson, Dinner Lab Chief Culinary Officer Francisco “Paco” Robert, Mash Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes and Dinner Lab Chef Brandon Byrd.

After the dinner we’ll be heading to Brooklyn Bowl to watch 12 contenders, (one from every city on the Mash tour.) strut their fishbones out onto the lakebed. It is going to be unstoppably fun. For tickets click here.

Why don’t we get the tunes started with Jonathon’s signature tour mix and let’s take a look at our funky competitors:

DeeDee Prescott

DeeDee Dame

Born to a powerful VooDoo Priestess, DeeDee Dame came dancing right out of the womb. It was prophesied she would be stricken by a great fever that would make her a slave to the rhythm and fuel uncontrollable wild desires within her. As a child, she was raised by primitives in the jungles of Panama and trained upon red, hot coals in the forbidden dance. When she came of age she was to be sacrificed. So, once the drumbeats started, she knew that it was time to go!

Now DeeDee Dame is here to mesmerize the world with her mystical moves!

Drew Ziegler

Drew Ziegler

Hatched from the eyeball of an old blue worm, put on this earth to wiggle and squirm.

Katie Hutchinson

Katie Hutchinson – Stone Fox, Nashville, TN

Ballroom dancer Katie Hutchinson graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a degree in communication and a fear of an ordinary life. She fell in love with dance at the mature age of 12 months when Mr. Rogers featured the Moscow Ballet, inspiring the young Katie to pursue a life of rhinestones and the spotlight. Champagne, macaroons, and Parliaments are some of her favorite things. A lover of all that glitters, Hutchinson has her dancing shoes shined and her shimmy ready to shake for Soul Clap Nationals. She’ll see you under the disco ball.

Talbot Johnson - Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Talbot Johnson – Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

An avid dancer, performer, and lover of music from Baltimore, MD, Talbot Johnson has been on a quest to live, love, and enjoy the beauty of dance and all that comes with it.  He has a unique and fresh style of movement that is carried on by his love for the groove and carefree nature.  Johnson hopes to continue to strive, grow, and excel when it comes to getting down, wherever he may be.

Wendy Petersen - Turf Club, Twin Cities

Wendy Petersen

Wendy Lea has been shakin’ to soul stompers ever since the day her grams handed her a stack of 45s from the family’s supper club jukebox. She maintains her secret identity as a groove fiend by daylighting as an English teacher, reading books to excess, and asking people questions. She hopes to one day avert space and time by actually transcending into a state of melodious acrobatics, mostly so she can avoid paying rent.

Sussan Manzo

Sussan Andrea Manzo – TT & the Bears, Boston MA

Sussan was born in a circus tent on a summer’s night in Jersey City. The daughter of a sixth generation band guitarist and head seamstress, she was born into a life of freaks and charlatans. After the circus she ran off the with LES Pirates and learned to tattoo. On one of her adventures she feel in love with a professional BMXer and has traveled the high seas ever since. Living such an adventurous life has left her to find serenity in one place: dance.

Cameron Caswell

Cameron Caswell – Black Cat Room, Washington, DC

I’m a child of the 70s, and loved Soul Train on Saturday mornings. As I got older I loved dancing to everything from punk to hip-hop to funk and soul. I love music and dancing makes me incredibly happy.

Dennis Plewa

Dennis Plewa – Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

Hello there! As you already know, my name is Dennis. I don’t think i could be any more exited for February 22! Hanging with my son Charles is the best part of my life. Beyond that, good people, good conversation, and great music is what I’m all about. I’ve got tons of Chicago pride, but I’m elated with the fact that i finally get to go to New York…paid for!! I want to be there right now gettin down in another town. Yeah, that rhymed. Not to much else to say other than i feel extremely lucky to be a part of this. Feeling great every day. Oh yeah, i like smiles too. See ya in February! Thank you! This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. I hope my feet don’t disappoint..

John Turner

John Turner – Remedy, Pittsburgh, PA

Striking fear (or amusement) in the hearts of drunken hipsters all over Pittsburgh, Sweatband John loves to dance. Traveling from dance party to dance party, he hopes to inspire others to take up the majestic call of dance!

Ashley Robb Crockett

Ashley Crockett – Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Ashley Robb Crockett danced herself right out the womb on February 7th, 1989. As a child when asked, “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Her response was, “One of the Ikettes”. In addition to gogo dancing she has a penchant for filmmaking, meditation, mini-dresses, psychedelics & peppermint puffs. She intends to boogaloo her way to the top and further still.

Serena Dominguez

Serena Dominguez – Gramps Bar, Miami, FL

Serena Dominguez was born and raised in Miami, Florida, a place where she has never achieved a tan. On her spare time, she likes studying Russian folkloric dance and the mating rituals of amphibians. She is said to dance with the vengeance of a recovered polio patient, and has the stamina of an inflatable car dealership tube thing. Like the mating amphibian, Serena will fertilize the competition’s eggs in a reservoir of water and wait 10-12 days ‘til they hatch…on the dance floor.

 

NYC Beer Week Returns

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Now under the direction of the New York City Brewers Guild, the 6th Annual New York City Beer Week happens February 21 – March 2, and will bring together 16 NYC craft breweries, nationally & internationally renowned breweries, over 100 venues with more than 300 events, celebrity chefs, and acclaimed restaurants for the premier craft beer spectacle of the year. We’re proud to be a founding member of this organization, so we planned a few fun evenings:

Opening Night Bash @ Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal
7pm, Friday, February 21
$75 Tickets Available Here

A spectacular setting for New York City’s premier craft beer spectacle of the year, the New York City Brewers Guild hosts its Opening Night Bash at the iconic Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal featuring rare and obscure beers from 30 breweries from NYC and friends around the region and across the country.

The $75 ticket gets you unlimited samples from your favorite breweries, with some of the finest food vendors NYC has to offer providing light snacks through the night. We’ll be bringing Hammarby Syndrome & 1/2 Ale.

The Brooklyn Brewery Mash Bash with Dinner Lab @ The Brooklyn Brewery & Brooklyn Bowl
8pm, Saturday, February 22
Sold Out; Tickets For Soul Clap & Dance Off Nationals Available Here

Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson and Dinner Lab Dinner Lab Chef Brandon Byrd come together for the first time since their collaboration during Mash New Orleans to create a multi-course beer feast with Mash Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes.

Guests can expect pairings of Brooklyn Brewery’s most popular beers, rare brews, and some added surprises to complement each dish dreamt up by the evening’s culinary stars. The experience will be illuminated by projection artists Nuit Blanche New York.

Immediately following Mash Bash will be The National Championships of Mr. Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap & Dance Off, next door at Brooklyn Bowl (open to all Mash Bash Dinner Lab guests). At each Mash stop during our 2013 tour we crowned a different Soul Clap winner and we’ve brought them in from all 11 cities to see who will rise above the Brooklyn fray. A portion of proceeds will help support Slow Food USA, co-founded by Garrett Oliver.

Brooklyn Tap Takeover & Tasting @ Top Hops
6-8pm, Wednesday, February 26

We’re bringing out our best at Top Hops for a tap takeover. Sample our newest Brewmaster’s Reserve, Hammarby Syndrome, and our first ever Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment, Wild Streak, alongside past Brewmaster’s Reserves and perennial favorites. We’ll even be raffling off 6 bottles of a highly whispered about beer that doesn’t exist at the end of the night. Check out the beer list here.

NYC Brewer’s Choice
6pm, Wednesday, February 26
$65 Tickets Available Here

NYC Brewer’s Choice returns on February 26 from 6-10pm as a featured event of NYC Beer Week. This year’s event, which will be held for the first time at The Wythe Hotel here in Williamsburg, has an all New York focus. More than 16 NY state brewers, including our own Garrett Oliver, will be on hand to pour and discuss some of their most special beers, all of with will be served alongside a loving food pairing provided by some of the city’s best restaurants. Jeff O’Neil of Peekskill Brewery will deliver the keynote address.

Cold Comfort: Lagers in the Historic Nassau Brewery Lagering Caves @ The Historic Nassau Brewery
1-5pm, Saturday, March 1
Sold Out

Join Josh Bernstein, author of The Complete Beer Course and host of the NYC homebrew tours, as he hosts Cold Comfort: Lagers in the Historic Nassau Brewery Lagering Caves. These caves have remained largely untouched and unseen since their 19th century hay-day, but on March 1st, you can descend, partake in pretzels, and learn about the history of the former brewery. We will be pouring Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager,  Brooklyn 1/2 Pils, and Brooklyn Lager.

Brooklyn Tastings
Sample new releases Wild Streak & Hammarby Syndrome.

The Sampler
234 Starr Street, Brooklyn
6-8pm, Wednesday, February 26

Hops & Hocks
2 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn
6-8pm, Thursday, February 27

Stinky Brooklyn
215 Smith Street, Brooklyn
7-9pm, Thursday, February 27

Brunch Finale @ Houston Hall
12pm, Sunday, March 2
$15 Tickets Available Here

After a long and relentlessly enthusiastic New York City Beer Week complete with revelry, comradeship and delicious beer, you know need a more relaxed setting. Celebrate the awesomeness by coming to a meet-some-brewers closing brunch at Houston Hall! Beer selections from each brewery member will be available along with an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. Your ticket includes one beer plus the buffet.

 

Garrett Goes to Pittsburgh

Garrett Liguria

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Brace yourself, Pittsburgh: Garrett Oliver is coming to town, and he’s bringing a whole lot of rare beer with him. You can catch Brewmaster Oliver on Friday the 10th at Pittsburgh’s Industry Public House, where he’ll be hosting a Beer Dinner and pouring a few non-existent beers.  If you’re going to Brew ‘N Chew on Saturday, the 11th, you’ll see him slinging crab cakes during Session 1’s cooking demo. During Session 2, he’ll team up with Chef Kevin Watson from Savoy to bring festival-goers mac ‘n cheese sandwiches. If that’s not enough, keep your eye out for book signings of The Brewmaster’s Table, and the meet-and-greets happening in the last hour and a half of each session.

Even if you can’t make it to the Brew ‘N Chew, check out Garrett’s interview with Pittsburgh Today Live on Friday the 10th, from 9-9:30 am!

Mash Files: Chicago Edition

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Chicago Mash

All Mash Cities have a certain charm, but Chicago is the city I had the most trouble saying goodbye to. Diverse neighborhoods bleed into each other ripe with unique and delectable restaurants serving fall inspired dishes with a laid back feel. I haven’t experienced this concentration of incredible eating locales in any other city but the one I reside in. The array of talented chefs that grace this town are not doing anything incredibly different than other cities we have visited along the Mash, but they are doing it consistently, creatively  and  collaboratively across the board. The “Shi” is an artistic metropolis with a true neighborhood feel, offering as many cultural perspectives as The Bean (Cloud Gate) itself. Steel bridges connect this lakeside city and add as much character as the myriad restaurants we frequented.

Lake Michigan provides a gorgeous city backdrop, but it also creates the brisk winds and chilling temps that make Chicago one of the coldest cities in the country. I think the chefs there understand this better than others and truly value the short growing season, preserving the rich bounty for the cold months to come, and honoring the fresh ingredients in a simple, yet sophisticated manner. The network of chefs that I encountered was truly inspiring, and everyone seemed to know everyone creating a culinary community that spans many bridges.

Slow supper prep at Found restaurant reminded me of Chris Sheppard’s kitchen (at Underbelly, Houston), with more preserves and pickles then I could imagine. The walk in refrigerator boasts a rainbow of pickled produce that could have easily been an installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Packed Mason jars abounded like the preservation kitchen at Blackberry Farm, as captivating as the amphitheater and BP Bridge in Millennium Park, by architect and artist Frank Gehry. Nicole Pederson might be a pickle queen but she sure knows her way around rabbit rillettes, and presses a mean goat pate that tastes of barnyard and pistachio, a perfect accompaniment for one of our Ghost Bottles of Crochet Rouge Riesling. Combined with pickled sausage, fresh made mustard, and sweet but tangy plum butter. This course and many others demonstrated the typical style of many of the chefs we encountered, with a full understanding of local ingredients and a playful, yet traditional approach.

Small Bar’s rabbit pate, marmalade, and parsley salad also accented the nuances of Crochet Rouge Sauvignon Blanc, expertly prepared by Executive Chef Justin White.  Ghost Bottles graced the tables at both of our meals, but  Carnegie Special 175th Anniversary Porter was most appropriate in capturing the essence of our 1883 World Fair Slow Supper feast, and a perfect accompaniment to the dramatic reading by Paul Durica, author of Chicago by Day and Night, as well as the delectable poached pear and sponge cake it was served with.

Our week of Mash events melded perfectly  with the intoxicating energy of Chicago, from its many farmers markets, artistic and thoughtfully designed green spaces, diverse neighborhoods, talented chefs, and impressive architecture. From Longman and Eagle, to Lula café, Nightwood, Fat Rice, Little Goat, there were more great restaurants then I could imagine, or find time to eat at. Whether sitting in a hole in the wall Mexican place on the east side, dining on Randolph street, or out in Evanston you can be sure that Chicago’s food scene will leave you satiated, smiling, and extremely impressed. I just hope your stay is longer than mine. I am in agreement with my cousin Ari, Chicago may be the greatest city in the country, at least four months out of the year. I hope your larders are packed for the remaining eight months. Stay warm Chicago, can’t wait to see you next year!

New York Comic Con 2013

NYCC 2013 edited

Friday night I had the honor to speak on the Beer and Comics Panel at New York Comic Con. The panel was created and moderated by Matthew Waite, and joined by Ben Abernathy of Madefire, and C.B. Cebulski of some small publisher no one’s ever heard of. We illuminated many of the interesting parallels between our two worlds so for those who couldn’t join us I wanted to write a brief recap. It will probably be too long. I love these things.

Both comics and beer have long storied histories. We here at the Brooklyn Brewery always bring up how the Ancient Egyptians had passages on drinking beer, and those passages of hieroglyphics were some of the first sequential art. The act of creating something for a consumer to experience is an art regardless if it’s something to taste or something to read. Art and beer have gone together for as long as time can remember but the modern incarnations correlations are almost creepily similar.

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Both industries have their “Big Two” which came from decades of consolidating other brands, until the 80’s when young upstarts started showing up with more adult and experimental fare. The ’90’s exploded with new breweries and publishers, leading up to the ’00’s where it’s not surprising anymore to see multiple publishers fighting for shelf space with the Captain Americas and Wonder Womans; your local beer aisle probably looks just as diverse. Breweries and comics are getting hyper local with a comic shop producing their own comics for the local markets, or a couple of homebrewers only creating one batch to sell out of their apartment. The experimentation has gotten so popular that one of the big two has started emulating the independent and craft styles, while the other is slowly trying to compensate by rebooting their message to a fresher more contemporary look, in both industries. Both industries are in the middle of a renaissance.

Few industries have the three tier distribution system or specific locations to browse and purchase that week’s latest shipments. Comic book shops and bars are staffed with a cultish elite that are uber-informed and are more excited about the rare limited releases than the standard brands that they constantly have to stock. The public can name most of the big players in the industry but there are worlds of info we could still teach them. Hopefully, Brooklyn Brewery will be the first brewery to open a movie studio because that seems to be going pretty well for the comic book industry.

Cliff-and-Jimmy-NYCC-2013 wha

We talk a lot about how a good beer should be a story with a beginning, middle and an end. You’d better hope a comic does. We’re both products that go through multiple phases and people; you do the best work you can to your part of the process and then send it on, hoping for an amazing outcome. Whether you’re brewing a beer or producing a comic you have the lowest bar of entry in almost any creative industry. With under a hundred dollars of equipment you have the capability to make a product as well crafted as the best stuff on the shelves. The collaboration and checks and balances at the larger scale producers is an equally beautiful ballet. The variety and subtlety that can be executed in either are innumerable.

In every Con or Beer Festival panel there’s always one thing I hear over and over: There is nothing stopping you from creating either. Do it. Stopping thinking about it or dreaming about it or saying you don’t have enough time. Just start doing, making, creating. If you’re no good, with practice you will get better. Take your passion and make it your life. You and the marketplace will be better for it.

Check out all of our pictures from NYCC on Instagram under #defendbeer, and check out our store for Defend Beer Pints, shirts and screenprints signed by Cliff Chiang himself.