2016 came, saw, and conquered, and left us all beaten and bedraggled in its wake. The year featured unprecedented levels of fear, anger, difficult deaths, and tiny frustrations. But there was still a handful of things that made life a little easier to bear.
We polled our staff for their favorite movies, music and more from the year. Thirty-four of them answered, and a handful even read the directions. Some people insisted that their favorites were from other years, while others answered questions that hadn’t been asked or even remotely considered. Regardless, we think it’s the perfect long read to wrap up your day during the pre-holiday workplace slump. And before you ask, yes, our holiday party was prom themed.
Without further ado, please enjoy The Brooklyn Brewery Best of 2016.
Copywriter/Bar Manager/Tour Guide/Box Lifter/Guy Writing This, So He Goes First
Favorite Album: Rheia by Oathbreaker, Devil is Fine by Zeal and Ardor, and Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino.
Favorite Movie: Zootopia
Favorite TV Show: Rick & Morty and Chopped.
Favorite Book: For taut writing, bursts of humor, and visceral pain, Tranny by Laura Jane Grace with Dan Ozzi and All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews.
Favorite Song: “Me And Your Mama,” Childish Gambino and “Square Hammer” by Ghost.
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: The price was far too high, but parties have improved immensely since people started playing more Prince and Bowie.
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: I make a point of hitting Sand City Brewing Company whenever I’m in my hometown. They’re churning out juicy IPAs and sturdy Belgians, maintain a welcoming and dog-friendly tasting room, and just released their first barrel-aged beers. You heard it here first: go to Northport.
Best Cocktail: Aleman’s Ghost at Alden & Harlow in Boston. Close runner up: the mysteriously bottomless glass of Scotch on my couch.
Best Meal: For eye-opening culinary experience? Several pounds of crawfish, potatoes, and corn along with plenty of beer on a good friend’s kitchen table in New Orleans. For company? I have to give props to my fellow members of the Salad Train, and thank the staff of Sunac for tolerating us as we pretend to eat healthy every damn day.
(above, yellow striped tie/Jack Sparrow beard)
Front Desk/Ask Jon, he’ll know
Favorite Album – M83, Junk
Favorite Movie – Sing Street
Favorite TV Show – Gotham
Favorite Book – Do food menus count?
Favorite Song – Dang- Mac Miller
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon – Snapchat filters
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Dragoon Barrel Aged The Cuatro
Best Cocktail – Apotheke’s – Paid Vacation (Mezcal, tequila, hickory smoked pineapple, muddled cucumber, fresh lime juice, agave, and Habanero bitters)
Best Meal – Peg Leg Porker – Dry rubbed rack of ribs with mac and cheese, smoked green beans, and kool-aid pickles.
Favorite Album: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson
Favorite Movie: Suicide Squad. Much like 2016 it was kind of a dumpster fire towards the end, but at least it had Margot Robbie.
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Solemn Oath Brewery Snaggletooth Bandana
Best Cocktail: Lost Lake – Tic-Tac Taxi
Best Meal: Anything on the menu at Milktooth in Indianapolis
Accountant & Accounts Receivable
Favorite Album – Dissonants, Hands Like Houses. Aggressive, Beartooth. Cold World, Of Mice & Men
Favorite Movie – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Ghostbusters.
Favorite TV Show – I watch way too much TV… Man in the High Castle, Gilmore Girls, This is Us, New Girl, Wentworth, Shameless, Game of Thrones.
Favorite Book – Had to break up with Seamless in 2016, so cookbooks… or, cooking blogs, I should say. Minimalist Baker is my favorite. It’s really simple, has tons of pictures and is geared towards vegetarian meals. For non-vegetarian meals I like Iowa Girl Eats. Again, it’s easy, there’s lots of pictures, and there’s a shit ton of recipes in her catalog.
Favorite Song – Ugh, this is hard! Everything by Nothing More.
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon – Snapchat Filters, Face-Swap.
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Captain Lawrence Effortless Grapefruit IPA
Best Cocktail – Gin & Tonic
Best Meal – Anything with Pizza. Always Pizza. Special shout out to Ginos of Bay Ridge– their vodka pie is unbelievable.
Philip “Coach” Shelton
Favorite Album – A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
Favorite Movie – Everybody Wants Some!!
Favorite TV Show - Atlanta
Favorite Song – Rich Chigga – Dat $tick
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon – Julio Nivelo, aka “Luis Toledo.”
Best Meal – Big Ed’s Farm Fresh Country Breakfast
Favorite Album: “Still has to be Open Up and Say Ahh by Poison.”
Favorite TV Show: Frazier
Favorite Book: ehh. Book?
Favorite Song: You Don’t Bring Me Flowers– Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: r/holdmyjuicebox
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer. Coors Banquet
Best Cocktail. Heavy on the G, light on the T.
Best Meal. Salad Train.
Favorite Album: Wu Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers, this year and every year.
Favorite Movie: Shin Godzilla
Favorite Book: What’s book?
Favorite Song: Money, Power, Respect by The Lox, because Yonkers! What up Y.O. In the house son prattpratt YEEEEERRRRRRRR! (Editor’s note: he wrote this out in an email. No kidding.)
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: People getting hit by cars while playing Pokémon Go.
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: The Alchemist Focal Banger
Best Cocktail: Corpse Reviver
Best Meal: Hot Pockets
Model/Accountant (Modcountant? Accodel? We’ll get back to you.)
Favorite Album: Chance the Rapper- Coloring Book
Favorite Movie: Secret Life of Pets
Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones
Favorite Song: Ultralight Beam- Kanye, Chance
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: …Harambe
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: New Belgium Fat Tire!
Best cocktail: Sprite and Vodka
Best Meal: Ramen
“Intern Sara” Kaplan
Events Intern/Assistant/Answer Knower
Favorite Album: …my Spotify’s discover weekly is lit. Sorry for saying lit. (Editor’s Note: Apology not accepted.)
Favorite Movie: The Lobster.
Favorite TV Show: Toss up between Stranger Things and Black Mirror
Favorite Book: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Favorite Song: “Ophelia” by The Lumineers. But they get extra props for their poignant music videos that weave together the stories from “Sleep on the Floor”, “Cleopatra” and “Angela.”
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: Biden/Obama bromance memes
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: For the colder days, Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout Nitro. When it’s warmer out, Gun Hill Brewing Mosaic Soft Serve
Best cocktail: White Russians, as made by my brother
Best Meal: Soup dumplings and ribs at Kings County Imperial
Above, center, throwing shade
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomena: Joe Biden memes, the goat dressed as a duck, and meat waterfalls.
Favorite Meal: Salad Train.
Anything Else?: No.
Above, getting a tattoo during New Orleans Mash
Communications and Events Coordinator/Where’s AC?
Favorite Album: Parquet Courts, Human Performance. One of the most “New York” albums I’ve heard this year, with lyrics such as “skull-shaking cadence of the J train rolls” and “G train delays, what else is new?” Maybe I can just relate to their MTA complaints.
Favorite Movie: Green Room. The official synopsis is “a punk band who find themselves attacked by neo-Nazi skinheads after witnessing a murder at a remote club in the Pacific Northwest.” Umm, yeah…sign me up. Also, one of Anton Yelchin’s last performances, which turns out to be one of his best.
Favorite TV Show: Easy. I love Joe Swanberg’s films, especially the improv-nature of every scene. When I heard he had a new anthology series set in Chicago (my hometown), I was definitely on board.
Favorite Book: Patience by Daniel Clowes. Are we counting graphic novels here? I really hope so because Patience is a true return to form for Daniel Clowes after a 5-year hiatus. Think Ghost World meets Terminator.
Favorite Song: “Aphasia” by Pinegrove. I just discovered this band a few weeks ago, but I can’t stop listening to this song. The only way I can describe them is “emo-county-alt”, which sounds like a nightmare, but for some reason it really works?
Compliance and Legal Affairs
Favorite Album – Tauk – Sir Nebula
Favorite Movie – Deadpool (having not seen Rogue One yet)
Favorite TV Show – Stranger Things
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon – #Baedro
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Power Tools from Industrial Arts Brewing Co., Garnerville, NY
Chef Andrew Gerson
Above, family man
Chef and Head of Culinary Programming
Favorite Album: Aesop Rock, The Impossible Kid
Favorite TV Shows: Stranger Things, Luke Cage, Planet Earth 2
Favorite Book: Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Anything from Transmitter, Jester King or Night Shift
Best cocktail: Mezcal Real Minero, Tobala. In a glass.
Best Meal: Cosme NYC.
Territory Manager, IL/MI
Favorite Album – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, Sturgill Simpson
Favorite Movie – Hell or High Water
Favorite TV Show – Stranger Things
Favorite Song – Capsized, Andrew Bird
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon - Stranger Things
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Oskar Blues, Barrel Aged Ted-Fidy
Best Cocktail – Carpano, Rye Manhattan at Mott Street in Chicago (I’m all about the classics)
Best Meal – Bellota in San Francisco
Marketing Coordinator, Abominable Snowmang
Favorite Album: re-discovered Herb Alpert Rise / New: Saintmotelevision
Favorite TV Show: Seinfeld
Favorite Song: Rise
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: People getting hurt while playing Pokémon Go
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: 21st Amendment Fireside Chat
Best cocktail: Fernet
Best Meal: Rao’s
Favorite Album: Greensky Bluegrass “Shouted, Written Down, and Quoted.” This album is straight gold indie bluegrass!
Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones. This was obvious.
Best Non- Brooklyn Beer: Prairie Artisan Ales “Prairie Bomb.” I wanted to try this beer for a long time. It’s from Oklahoma, my home state, and it’s good to see Okies making great beer. It’s an imperial stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers. I typically do not like chilis in my beer but this one had just the slightest heat to it that complimented the stout perfectly.
Best cocktail: Fernet Branca. This is a go to for all times of the day.
Best Meal: Babbo Ristorante Enoteca ” Pappardelle with White Truffles and Parmigiano.” I don’t usually get to go to such nice restaurants, but my brother treated me for my birthday and this dish was probably the best thing I have ever had. I usually cook myself but it was nice to have Mario’s best.
Favorite Album – see last year’s answer (it’s Hamilton)
Favorite TV Show – Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (only 10% because of the name)
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Suarez Family Brewery Believe You Me or Nya Carnegie Bryggeriet Kellerbier
Best cocktail – La Sonambula at Leyenda
Best Meal – Party Time menu at Zahav in Philly
Mid-Atlantic Manager, Bringer of Pretzels
Favorite Album – “The Psychadelic Swamp” by Dr. Dog
Favorite Movie – Deadpool
Favorite TV Show – Stranger Things
Favorite Book – I realize now that I haven’t read anything this year that written this year, but really enjoyed a re-read of “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.
Favorite Song – “Lazarus” by David Bowie
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon – Does Bernie Sanders count? The answer is Bernie Sanders.
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Copper Tail Brewing “Let it Lingor”
Best Cocktail – Mezcal Mule
Best Meal – Zahav (Philadelphia)
Midwest Regional Manager
Favorite Album - Achtung Baby– U2
Favorite Movie – Titanic (Editor’s Note: This was a surprise.)
Favorite TV Show - Friends
Favorite Book - A Time To Kill by John Grisham
Favorite Song - Graceland, by Paul Simon
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer - Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed IPA (Editor’s Note: This is the sole modern entry on Mike’s list.)
Best Cocktail - Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Rye Manhattan, up
Best Meal - Mashy (stuffed grape leaves) and chicken
Favorite Movie – I’ve only seen 3 new movies in 2016, so with that said… Sausage Party.
Favorite TV Show – Westworld!!!
Favorite Song – Blood on the Sand – Thrice
Best cocktail – Chef Andrew Gerson introduced me to the world of high end Mezcal. I have now started making a Mezcal Margarita and it is just the tops.
Best Meal – The Colorado Ribeye from Smith & Wollensky.
Brand Ambassador Manager/Mayor of Sweden
Favorite Album – Irrbloss – Dorisburg
Favorite TV Show – Stranger Things
Favorite Song – Let’s Get Nervous – Axel Boman
Best cocktail – Penicillin
Best Meal – Swedish Meatballs
New England Regional Manager/Hawaiian Shirt Aficionado
Favorite Movie: Deadpool
Favorite TV Show: The People vs OJ Simpson
Favorite Album: A Tribe Called Quest, ‘We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service’
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: Pokemon Go (or at least my kids think so!)
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Notch Brewery Polotmavy Czech Dark Lager
Best Cocktail: NYC –> TKO – Iwai japanese whisky, Evan Williams, lemon, sugar, egg white, plum wine at Hojoko Boston.
Best Meal: Soframiz & Spice Companion Dinner at Oleana
Tasting Room Floor Manager/Person Who Handled That Thing
Favorite Album: I’m gonna go with the one people probably haven’t heard of, “Side Pony” (by Brooklyn’s own Lake Street Dive.) Though “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by Sturgill Simpson and “Moon Shaped Pool” by Radiohead are the more obvious standouts.
Favorite Movie: “Don’t Think Twice”
Favorite TV Show: “The Americans”
Favorite Book: The only book I read that came out this year was “Wood and Beer” (by Dick Cantwell and Peter Bouckaert) but if we’re just counting books that I happened to read this year, then definitely “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman.
Favorite Song: “Burn the Witch” from “Moon Shaped Pool” by Radiohead
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: The guy who dressed up as his dog’s favorite toy. Hands down.
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Grimm Light Year
Best Cocktail: “Frothy Bitch” from Salzy’s (Bulleit bourbon, Cointreau, Ginger, Egg White)
Best Meal: Brooklyn beer pairing dinner at Bar Dough in Denver during GABF. I fell in love with Serpent when they paired it with this particularly amazing twist on calamari.
Bar Manager and Tour Guide
Favorite Album: Tame Impala, Currents
Favorite Movie: The Lobster
Favorite TV Show: Black Mirror and High Maintenance
Favorite Book: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Favorite Song: Tove Lo- Habits (hippie remix)
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Grimm anything IPA
Best cocktail: I don’t really do the cocktail thing, but Moscow Mules are good
Best Meal: K-town
Favorite Album – Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’
Favorite Movie – Star Wars Rogue One, because I just saw it 2 days ago and the last 45 or so minutes of the movie is why we Star Wars
Favorite TV Show – Better Call Saul, mainly for the nostalgia vibes of Breaking Bad
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon – The meteoric rise and fall of Ken Bone
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Tree House Haze Double IPA, whalez bro
Best Meal – 6am soup dumplings in Shanghai last summer
Export Marketing Coordinator
Favorite Album: City Club, The Growlers
Favorite Movie: Wall Street with Charlie Sheen on airplane in-flight entertainment. Pure 80’s cheese.
Favorite TV Show Stranger Things
Favorite Book: Sunny’s Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World by Tim Sultan, Dispatches by Michael Herr, Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson
Favorite Song: The entire Tears for Fears discography
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: Too Much Tuna
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Klostergården Alstadberger: A Stjørdalsøl – a historic regional specialty from the Norwegian countryside featuring local malted barley smoked over alderwood. E.C. Dahl’s Chili Chocolate Chipotle Porter. Note the initials.
Best cocktail: The Dippermouth: Bourbon, Black Walnut, Crème de Banane and cold brew from Karasu in Fort Greene. On the opposite end of the spectrum: The Bad Dad: Grape Pedialyte with well vodka at Do or Dive.
Best Meal: Cured Reindeer Heart
Favorite Movie: The Alamo Drafthouse finally opened in Downtown Brooklyn, so any movie there is my favorite because they have an incredible local beer list. Essentially, beer makes all movies better, especially the funny ones, and the really bad ones.
Favorite TV Show: Without a doubt West Wing. I know it ended a decade ago, but I only recently started to watch it (thank you, Netflix). It’s a nice (albeit temporary) escape from the madness that is politics in the real world. If I had to choose a new show that aired this year – Westworld.
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: I’m on the NE Style IPA bandwagon right now. I can’t help it. And I can’t pick just one. That said, I’m loving all of the IPAs that Grimm has been putting out.
Best Cocktail: Fernet, neat. A standout this year was Fernet Michaud from Liquid Riot Bottling Co. out of Portland, Maine.
Best Meal: I keep returning to Golden Mall in Flushing, Queens. I’ve probably eaten there more than anywhere else in NYC. It’s where some of the best dumplings and hand pulled noodles in NYC can be found and it’s insanely affordable. It’s also a great place to take out of towners.
Above, right, looking into your soul
Favorite Album: David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” because as much as we want to forget this year, the best way to forget Bowie’s death is by listening to this album.
Favorite Movie: The Big Lebowski–two simple things to consider here: 1) this aggression will not stand, and 2) The Dude always abides.
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: Whatever phenomenon existed before cell phones. I don’t know. Talking? Writing letters? Not whatever monstrosity gave us this election?
Best Cocktail: Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon.” Because f*ck it, right?
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Red Stripe, because the uglier 2016 has made you feel, the more of these you’re allowed drink. They won’t judge you. Shh, it’ll all be okay. Have another Red Stripe.
Favorite Albums- Since I’m terribly indecisive, here’s my top 5:
Favorite TV Show: Favorite Drama: Stranger Things. Favorite Comedy: The Chicago Bears 2016 Season.
Favorite Song: Lil Yachty, “Minnesota” played 1,000 times
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: “Suh dude.”
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: I had my first Heady Topper in January, let’s go with that.
Favorite Album: We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your service by A Tribe Called Quest. “Surprising. Prescient!” writes Ben Hudson.
Favorite Movie: The movie that had the most impact on me this year was Captain Fantastic. The strange-looking and even stranger-named Vigo Mortensen delivered an outstanding performance as a lefty off-the-grid-dad in charge of 6 kids in the wilds of NorCal. As a father it spoke to me about the possibilities and pitfalls of total influence. It’s also funny and sad and cool.
Favorite TV Show: What’s TV? JK! How about Stranger Things? Or Black Mirror? Or Love? Or Easy or 9 million other shows like Catastrophe or Red Oaks or Westworld
Favorite Book: The Co-Parents’ Handbook.
Favorite Song: Yesterday by Swim Mountain
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon: Urge
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer: Austmann IPA, Norway. A chewy, hazy, nasty IPA in the best way. Had it fresher than fresh with my co-workers Haben and The Big Dipper.
Best Cocktail: NOT the Old Fashioned at Beauty & Essex. What a disappointment.
Best Meal: Little Serow, sorry New York. It’s one of the coolest spaces to eat and unbelievably cheap for what you get, which is a fashion forward Thai sneak attack on your taste buds.
above, rightful Queen
Favorite Album – Miike Snow - iii
Favorite Movie – Passengers
Favorite TV Show – Westworld
Favorite Song – Big Grams – Fell in the Sun
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon – Pokemon Go
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer – Suarez Family Brewing – Believe You Me
Best Meal – Lilia – Sheeps Milk Agnolotti and Veal Flank Steak with Bone Marrow
Graphic Designer/Crime Fighter/Podcast Guest
Favorite Movie: Moana. It’s not just for kids, okay?
Favorite TV Show: Insecure on HBO. REAL TOUGH COMPETITION THIS YEAR. Stranger Things was great but too hyped up, Westworld was insane but I’m not sure I paid close enough attention, and I Black Mirror S3 makes me feel all sorts of uncomfortable visceral feels, but I haven’t finished it yet. Insecure was hilarious and relatable, plus there’s a character named Molly, so…
above, second from left
New York Regional Manager
Favorite Album- We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service- A Tribe Called Quest
Favorite Movie- Captain America: Civil War
Favorite TV Show- Stranger Things
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon-This is my wife’s contribution to this list- Gilmore Girls return. (Editor’s Note: We know the truth, Joe.)
Best Non-Brooklyn Beer- Maine Lunch
Best cocktail- Hendricks and Tonic with a Cucumber
Best Meal- Harvest on Fort Pond, Montauk, NY.
above, stunner shades
New Jersey Rep
Favorite Album- Really tough one, 2016 was full of amazing releases…..Love & Hate from Michael Kiwanuka
Favorite TV Show- Mr. Robot
Favorite Song- Beck-Wow
Favorite Pop Culture Phenomenon- Obama & Biden memes
Best Meal- Jimmy Geez Wings…extra blue cheese