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Posted on February 27, 2015 by NYCBG
NYC Brewer’s Choice is one of the best craft beer events in New York City. Each year, dozens of brewers from NYC and the surrounding area come together to celebrate the growing craft beer community with a food and beer pairing event during NYC Beer Week. Many of the local industry’s biggest names make appearances to talk about their beer while sampling offerings from their contemporaries. What’s not to love about live music, great food, and craft beer freely flowing from some of the best brewers the region has to offer?
This year, many of the 40+ breweries (full list of participants here) were pouring a SMaSH beer produced especially for NYC Beer Week. The SMaSH acronym usually stands for Single Malt and Single Hop, but these beers featured State Malt and State Hops to showcase locally sourced ingredients. Not only did these beers demonstrate the outstanding quality of New York maltsters and hop farmers, the SMaSH beers displayed each brewery’s unique style. No two SMaSH beers were alike, but all were delicious.
We tried our hardest to sample everything that was pouring, but given the numerous offerings from so many local brewers present it just wasn’t possible. Here’s a rundown of some of the beers we tried:
Barrier Brewing Co. was pouring Ruckus IPA and Rembrandt Porter. These guys always make great beer, so no surprise that we loved both. The Porter was spot on with a robust and roasty body and mild chocolate notes.
Bridge and Tunnel Brewery was pouring Bound by Chains, a double rye IPA SMaSH beer. Holy hell, this was amazing. A nice, full body balanced the explosion of hops, with a perfect amount of spiciness from the rye. Also on tap was Twenty-Spot and a SwitchBlade, an incredible coffee cream ale with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Rich let us in on some big news: Bridge and Tunnel is moving to a bigger space which will allow them to brew quite a bit more beer! We’re looking forward to their larger production capacity because it means we’ll be able to drink even more of their beer!
Brooklyn Brewery was pouring a SMaSH Tripel. Garrett Oliver was happily pouring beer for eager fans and posing for pictures. It was a particularly memorable moment when Alpine Beer Company Owner Pat Mcilhenney tasted beers and talked with Mr. Oliver (pictured above). Pat later spent time pouring his own beer, Duet, for NYC hopheads at the Green Flash Brewing Co. table.
Bronx Brewery poured a SMaSH Imperial Rye alongside a Tequila Barrel-Aged Pale Ale. Both were excellent. I especially enjoyed how the barrel aging provided a warming oak flavor to the Pale Ale with just enough bite from the tequila. We’re really looking forward to trying the mezcal barrel-aged versions, due out soon.
What can be said about Carton Brewing Company that hasn’t already been said? They brew some fantastic beer drawn from totally wacked out (read: untraditional) sources of inspiration. Last night they were pouring Orange Swisher, a beer they affectionately refer to as a “Blunt Ale.” The beer delivers on the promise of tasting like a burnt swisher wrap with citrus hop aromas that impart orange flavors.
Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett were pouring their first brew made as Cuzett Libations. Their SMaSH Grisette was light and effervescent, and highly drinkable. We’re really looking forward to what this team puts out in the future. (If you don’t know about Cuzett Libations already, find out more here.)
A strong SMaSH offering, Finback Brewery was pouring a rye beer called NRyeC. Their other beer was Small Sour Stout, a highly drinkable 2.5% beer with notes of coffee and tart cherries. No surprise, both were excellent.
We originally tried Folksbier Brewery during Opening Tap at Jimmy’s No. 43 and couldn’t help but love Echo Maker, a delicious chocolate rye ale with the chocolate and rye notes playing surprisingly complimentary roles with one another. Their other Brewer’s Choice offering was a SMaSH Beer, a Common Ale that encourages multiple pints of consumption.
We sampled Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.’s Cuvaison, a Belgian Golden Ale made with grapes and juice from neighboring vineyards. The Belgian yeast imparts a fruity ester that compliments the sweet, slightly vinous, body and then finishes dry. It was an incredibly well balanced beer that would be a welcome companion at any dinner table.
Joe and Lauren make incredibly unique beers that we’re always excited to try. We had our first taste of Grimm Artisanal Ales’ Tesseract, a delicious grapefruit-bomb of a double IPA, but the true highlight was a Pilot Batch farmhouse ale with NY State apple cider and brettanomyces. It was light and effervescent, dry, and mildly funky with a unique tartness from the apple cider. Make more of this, please!!
Being raised in Southern California, I’ve spent some quality time with Mexican beers on the beaches of Baja. As a result, I’ve had copious amounts of Vienna Lager so I might be slightly biased when I say I absolutely loved KelSo Beer’s SMaSH Rye Vienna Lager. It had a smooth and creamy mouthfeel that was balanced with a hint of spicy rye.
Peekskill Brewery was busy pouring Share the Rainbow and Amazeballs. These guys brew great beer along the Hudson River in Westchester County. It will be interesting to see what direction their beer takes as a new Head Brewer steps in to replace Jeff O’Neil in mid-March.
Prohibition Pig, a Waterbury, VT craft beer bar staple, opened their own brewery and tasting room at the end of December. Their small brewhouse is located in a historic former schoolhouse behind the restaurant. They came down for NYC Brewer’s Choice to pour a Vanilla Bean Porter and Double IPA. Both beers were incrediblly impressive, the Vanilla Bean Porter being well balanced and not too sweet, and the Double IPA packing a punch while being highly drinkable.
Transmitter Brewing was serving up some funky goodness in the form of F0 Brett Farmhouse and SMaSH NY1 Saison. We’ve had the good fortune of trying SMaSHY NY1 a few times throughout NYC Beer Week and hope there’s a NY2 coming later on!
Tags: Allagash Brewing Company Alpine Beer Company Barrier Brewing Co. Big Alice Brewing Birreria Brewery Ommegang Bridge and Tunnel Brewery Bronx Brewery Brooklyn Brewery Captain Lawrence Brewing Company Carton Brewing Company Chris Cuzme Craft Beer Events Crossroads Brewing Company Cuzett Libations Dieu du Ciel! Empire Brewing Company Finback Brewery Flagship Brewing Company Folksbier Brewery Galaxy Brewing Company Garrett Oliver Green Flash Brewing Company Greenpoint Beer & Ale Company Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Grimm Artisanal Ales Gun Hill Brewing Company Heartland Brewery Joe Grimm KelSo Beer Lauren Grimm Mary Izett Moustache Brewing Co. Nine Pin Cider Works NYC Beer Week NYC Brewer's Choice Other Half Brewing Co. Pat Mcilhenney Peekskill Brewery Port Jeff Brewing Company Prohibition Pig Rockaway Brewing Company Rocky Point Artisan Brewers Secret Engine Brewing Sixpoint Brewery Video
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