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Long Island breweries, bars to celebrate Craft Beer Week May 6-17

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By Alan J. Wax

Long Island: get ready for Craft Beer Week.

Long Island’s craft beer industry and its supporters in the hospitality and retail trade are readying a week-plus long celebration of the region’s breweries and beers. It runs from May 6 to May 17, which of course, is more than a week.

Breweries, bars and restaurants will be running special events to mark the celebration. So far, 21 breweries have signed on along with 20 restaurants and bars, three retailers and two wholesalers.

David Schultzer, owner of Bellport Cold Beer & Soda and the lead organizer of Long Island Craft Beer Week, says the celebration is designed to create awareness of Long Island breweries and beers and to attract mainstream beer drinkers to craft beer. “While the focus is Long Island beer and breweries, we need to get more people into craft beer.”

Nevertheless, he said, other states, such as Oregon and California, sell a far greater proportion of locally produced beers than New York.

“We don’t do a good job of letting people know we exist,” he says. Moreover, he said, with the growing number of small breweries opening in the region, brewers will be fighting for the same piece of the pie—and survival, unless they attract legions of new imbibers. “If you don’t expand that customer base, how can you survive?”

The first big event of Long Island Craft Beer week is the May 6 kickoff, Long Island Craft Beer Cares, a charity beer and food tasting at the Melville Marriott Hotel to benefit the Long Island Cares food bank; the Lustgarten Foundation, which raises funds to fight pancreatic cancer, and the New York Bully Crew, a pet-rescue organization.

A collaboration brew — Long Island Craft Cares — developed and brewed by Great South Bay Brewery, of Bay Shore; Port Jeff Brewing, 1940’s Brewing Co., of Farmingdale; Barrage Brewing Co. of East Farmingdale, Blue Point Brewing Co. of Patchogue, and BrickHouse Brewery, also of Patchogue, will debut at the charity event.

Breweries represented at the Long Island Craft Beer Care event include: Blue Point; Great South Bay; Barrage; 1940’s ; Port Jeff; BrickHouse Brewery; Brooklyn Brewery; Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn; Spider Bite Beer Co., Holbrook; Blind Bat Brewery, Centerport; Destination Unknown Beer Co., Bay Shore; The Brewers Collective, Farmingdale; Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, Bronx Brewery and Southern Tier Brewing Co., Lakewood, New York.

Beers, Burgers Desserts of Rocky Point, The Tap Room of Patchogue, Noodles & Co., of Garden City, Verde Wine Bar of Deer Park, The Trattoria, St. James will be among area eateries serving up delicious food to accompany the local craft beer at the Craft Beer Cares event. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased online at Eventbrite.

Free Long Island Craft Beer pint glasses will be available and can be ordered online and picked up on May 7 at these locations: The Tap Room, Patchogue; Savoy Tavern, Merrick; Beers Burgers Desserts, Rocky Point; Brewology, Speonk; Lil’ Left Coast, Bellmore; Bobbique, Patchogue and Eat Gastropub, Island Park.

The celebration’s other big event is Bay Fest, a beer festival featuring dozens of breweries at Great South Bay Brewery, i25 Drexel Ave., Bay Shore on May 16. Twenty-seven  breweries — at last count — and several home brew clubs will be pouring samples of their wares. There’s a general session from 1:30 to 5:30 pm with tickets $40 online and $15 for designated drivers. A VIP session, which starts at 12:45 p.m. $55 per person and $15 for designated drivers. Tickets are available at Ticketfly.

In addition to the host brewery, participating brewers include Port Jeff Brewing, BrickHouse Brewery, Blue Point Brewing, Barrage Brewing, 1940’s Brewing, Montauk Brewing Co., Oyster Bay Brewing, Barrier Brewing of Island Park, Southampton Publick House, Riverhead’s Crooked Ladder Brewing, Goose Island Beer Co. of Chicago, Two Roads Brewing of Stratford, Connecticut, Brooklyn Brewery, Ommergang, Greenport Harbor Brewing, Long Ireland Beer Co. of Riverhead, Adirondack Pub and Brewery of Lake George, Third Rail Beer Co. of Manhattan, Southern Tier, Samuel Adams, Destination Unknown, and Lithology Brewing, Farmingdale.

The big events sandwich a multitude of smaller, but no-less exciting events. You’ll find them listed at the Long Island Craft Beer week website.

Hope to see you at one them.

 

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Aging beer can be a gamble; some are winners, others are losers

By Alan J. Wax

Aging beers. We hear so much about it these days.

Brewers often encourage their customers to age their products and nary a day goes by when you don’t see some query on a beer drinker’s forum about the age worthiness of a just-purchased brew.

I’ve been aging beers for years. On purpose – and accidentally. Unable to keep up with many newly acquired beers, I let some sit away forgotten until rediscovered. Others, I’ve boxed and carried to the cellar intended for aging in the cool temperatures and darkness.

Recently, I came upon a number of brews that I had put aside and largely had forgotten. Wondering how they might taste, I pulled them out for a tasting with several open-minded, beer-loving friends.

The results, needless to say, were interesting. The beers, ranging in age from a half-dozen years to almost 25 years, had aged differently. Some gracefully; others less so.

This motley collection included English and Belgian beers of strength as well as a few American craft brews.

My notes from that tasting:

CourageCourage Russian Imperial Stout (2011) by Charles Wells Brewery, England. 10% abv. Its espresso color was intact, the head mocha and a nose that suggested alcohol. On the palate there were notes of licorice and molasses and an extraordinarily dry finish. 3/5.

Paradox Isle of Aran. Brew Dog, Scotland. Imperial stout. 10% abv. No date, but likely purchased in 2010. Black brown in hue with a roasty nose. Low carbonation. Malty. 2/5.

Paradox Smokehead (2010). Brewdog, Scotland. Smoked imperial stout.10% abv. Deep brown in hue with pronounced, tar, ashtray aroma. Malty sweetness on the palate. Dry finish. 2½/5.

Harny's 1990Thomas Hardy’s Ale (1990). Eldridge Pope, England. Old ale. 11.7% abv. Meant to be aged, but perhaps, too long at almost 25 years. More of a thin malt syrup lacking carbonation. Mild hints of fruit. Big oaky notes. Super dry. 3/5.

Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2008). Hanlon’s Brewing, England. Old ale. 11.9% abv.
Deep copper hue with oak and caramel on the nose. On the palate notes of orange peel, caramel and nuts. 4/5.

Harvest Ale (1991). JW Lees & Co., England. English barleywine. 11.5% abv. Brown hue. The nose suggests a musty, damp basement while on the palate there are hints of bitter chocolate, oak and dried figs. 3/5.

Harvest Ale 2003Harvest Ale (2003). JW Lees & Co., England; English barleywine. 11.5% abv. Murky brown and lacking in carbonation. Sweet sherry notes, caramel and oak. 3/5.

Vintage Ale (2006). Fuller, Smith & Turner, England. Old ale. 8.5% abv. One that did not age well. Copper hue, off white head, Notes of wet cardboard and licorice with an unpleasant bitter finish. 1½/5.

Triple (2001). Browerij St. Bernadus. Belgium. Tripel. 8% abv. Golden with a white head. Disappoints with notes of cardboard and candy sugar. 2/5.

Black Choco StoutBlack Chocolate Stout (2002). Brooklyn Brewery. Russian imperial stout. 10% abv. Opaque espresso hue. Chocolate on the nose and hints of wine on the palate. Oily. 2½/5.

Black Chocolate Stout (2009). Brooklyn Brewery. Russian imperial stout. 10% abv. Opaque espresso hue. Roasted malt on the nose, bit also hints of cardboard. A tad fizzy. Nutty palate. A recent purchase, suggesting poor retail storage. 2/5.

Monster Ale (2000). Brooklyn Brewery, American Barleywine. 10.1% abv. Deep copper hue with the barest signs of carbonation. Sherry and paint thinner notes. Definitely over the hill. ½/5.

CelebrationCelebration Ale (1996). Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. American IPA. 6.8% abv. Deep copper hue. Totally lacking a head. On the nose, notes of soy sauce. Hints of cardboard. Unpleasant, strong bitter finish. 1/5.

Bigfoot (2001). Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. American barleywine. 9.6% abv. Deep copper color. No head. Wet cardboard nose. Hints of sweetness toward the end that suddenly becomes extraordinarily bitter. Definitely past its prime. ½/5.

Carnegie Porter (1997). Carlsberg Sverige. Sweden. Baltic porter. 5.5% abv. Dark brown with a nose that suggests a nutty Oloroso sherry. Thin and lacking in carbonation. 1/5.

Our Special Ale (2000). Anchor Brewing Co. Spiced winter warmer. Unknown abv. No spice flavors, aromas evident. Medicinal and bitter. ½/1.

Choco BockSamuel Adams Chocolate Bock (2008). Boston Beer Co. Bock. 6.8% abv. Deep brown. Soy sauce nose. Low carbonation. Chocolate and caramel notes. Considering the low alcohol, it’s held up well. Stored in original wood box. 2½/5.

If you want to age your beer, remember these few simple things. Experiment by tasting your aging beer after six months—if it’s good, keep going, if not drink it immediately. Age them in a cool (55F) dark place, like a basement. Expect flavors to change; some fade, others become more pronounced. High alcohol beers and those with dark malts age best. Hoppy brews lose their hop character.

How have your aging brews tasted?

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The top 15 beers that I drank in 2014

By Alan J. Wax

It was a very good year.

Over the past dozen months I’ve sampled and rated hundreds of beers. To be sure there were a few duds—beers I couldn’t swallow, but most of them were very good. Quite a few, in fact, were terrific, but more than a handful of brews really stood out.

Since taste is a very personal thing, I don’t expect everyone to agree with my choices. Readers may not enjoy the specialties that I do—Belgians, Belgian-inspired beers and sours were prominent on my list of top-rated beers. For the record I am not a fan of big, in-your-face hoppy beers, so if you’re hoping to see some on this list, you’re out of luck. Some of these beers here are regarded as world classics and I was pleased to renew acquaintances; others were new to the market and I was pleased to have discovered them.

Here, alphabetically are the top 15 beers that I drank in 2014; all rated five stars out of five (to see the runners up, and others, visit my Untapped.com profile:

Chimay Spéciale Cent Cinquante by Abbaye Notre Dame de Scoumont of Belgium, Released in limited quantities in 2012 to mark the Trappist brewery’s 150th anniversary this Abbey tripel is hazy gold with a dense foamy white head and a spicy nose. It’s full bodied and lively with notes of black pepper, licorice and malty sweetness.

hell gateHell Gate Golden by Blind Bat Brewery, Centerport, NY. A Belgian-style unfiltered tripel. Murky deep gold in color and rich in body with notes of cardamom spice and bubble gum.

Hottenroth by The Breuery, San Diego, Calif. In the style of a Berliner Weisser, this refreshing brew is hazy gold with a short head and sour apple nose. It’s lactic. Lemony, light and delicious.

Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel by Belgium’s Brasserie d’Achouffe. A Belgian IPA that’s golden hued with a rocky white hear and nose that is at one fruity, floral and resiny, Beautifully balance flavors with sweet malt, Belgian yeast character and grain notes,

Jonge Kriek (Ghost Bottle) by Brooklyn Brewery. Cherries dominate this oak-aged, Brett-tinged brew which used Brooklyn Local 2 as its base.

Life and Limb Batch 2 by Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, Calif. A deep brown American strong ale with a nose that redolent of malt and spice.  Rich and velvety mouth feel with notes of spices, chocolate and dried fruits. 

kwakPauwel Kwak by Belgium’s Brouwerij Bosteels. Belgian Strong ale, brown in hue and complex with notes of honey, caramel, brown candy sugar and a hint of anise.

Rodenbach Caractère Rouge by Belgian’s Brouwerij Rodenbach. A Flanders red ale brewed with macerated fresh cherries, raspberries and cranberries. A brassy red hue with a nose of oak and berries. On the mouth, there’s a delicious complex blend of sour fruit flavors

Saison Dupont by Belgium’s Brasserie Dupont. A golden hued brew with a huge head and spicy nose. It’s extra dry, citrusy and bready with a lip-smacking finish.

Logo-SaisonSaison by Brasserie St-Feuillien of Belgium. A classis example of the style with a golden color and notes of yeast, pepper and malt.

Surette Provision Saison by Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Denver, Colo. This deep hazy golden brew has a prominent brettanomyces nose, extraordinary lip-smacking tartness with hints of oak toast and a dry finish.

St. Bretta (Spring) by Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Denver, Colo. A hazy orange colored brew with a huge citrus nose precede the lip-smacking tart, orange, apple, spice and, of course, metallic brettanomyces notes. It’s a great palate cleanser.

St. Bretta (Winter) 2014 Batch 5 by Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Denver, Colo.  I had this winter delight on a summer night. Almost ebony it didn’t have much of a head, but lots of fizz and a winey nose. Deliciously sour, citrusy and dry.

collab-woot-bttle22Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout by Stone Brewing Co., San Diego, Calif. Dark brown in color with nose that that redolent of: alcohol, nuts, and roast notes. On the palate: it’s rich, syrupy with notes of dried fruit. The finish reminds you of this imperial stout’s 13 percent ABV.

Westmalle Trappist Tripel by Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle, of Belgium. This golden hued brew has a white rocky head. The nose offers notes of grain, yeast and anise. Its mouth feel is velvety with a soft malt palate that echoes the nose.

That’s my list. What’s on yours?  Tell everyone in the comments section.

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New York malt adds flavor to NYC’s Brewers Choice Beer Week event

After getting a little behind on writing this blog for various reasons, it’s time to catch up.  Here’s a piece on a terrific NYC Beer Week event.

Brewer’s Choice, the New York City beer and food event put on annually by beer and food impresario James Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village, was the only NYC Beer Week I was able to make this year. But I was glad I did.

Taking place for the first time in the Wyeth Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,

Carbone, working with another great New York City beer promoter, Dave Broderick, of The Blind Tiger Ale House, produced a tightly focused tasting on a chilly Feb. 26 evening.

The event featured some of the best beers I have sampled in months, a rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with the brewers and some pretty tasty eats from a collection of fine restaurants, including Reynard, Mile End Deli and Luke’s Lobster; and such artisanal food purveyors as Coach Farm Cheese and Blue Island Oyster Co.

Brewers Choice was among the 300 events and 150 venues participating in NYC Beer Week. Beer week is organized by the New York City Brewers Guild is a promotion group composed of 17 New York City-based brewers.

This year, Carbone sought to bring what he called “a very cool component” to his beer extravaganza. He sought out nearly 30 brewers, mostly from New York, but not all, who used regional grains to produce some of their brews. Also on hand were officials of Grow NYC, which among other things operates the Union Square Green Market, and Amanda Stanley, owner of Valley Malt, an artisanal maltster in Hadley, Mass., which supplies some 60 brewers and distillers. Valley Malt’s malts were used in many of the beers.

June Russell of Grow NYC at Brewers Choice event.

June Russell of Grow NYC at Brewers Choice event.

Brewers have been among the last of food and beverage producers to use local ingredients, June Russell, who has been facilitating the production of grains and processing in the region on behalf of Grow NYC, told me at the event. “They haven’t had the malting facilities.”

New York has three malt producers that I could identify: Farm House Malt in Newark Valley, NY Craft Brew Malt in Batavia and Flower City Malt Lab, of Rochester

New York State has encouraged the use of New York grown barley and hops through the establishment of a lower cost farm brewery license, which allows brewers to operate retail outlets for New York products, open restaurants, undertake increased tastings and sell related products. In order to receive a Farm Brewery license, the beer must be made primarily from locally grown farm products. Until the end of 2018, at least 20 percent of the hops and 20 percent of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in New York State.

To be sure, not every beer I savored was made with local ingredients—or locally brewed. Here are some of my favorites:

Newburgh Brewing’s  Magnanini Niagara Tripel, made with local Niagara grapes and Brettanomyces yeast, an interesting brew with what wine drinkers would call a tart foxy grape character with definite brett notes.

Swisher by Carton Brewing Co. of Atlantic Highlands, N.J. Named for Swisher Sweet, the mild, sweet-tasting cigar often used to smoke a certain medicinal week. The cigar taste is well replicated quite well in this unique, murky brown, tart brew.

Regular Coffee, also by Carton Brewing, appealed to me although I am not a fan of coffee beers. This one somehow was different. It’s a golden brew, creamy and with notes of coffee. Quite drinkable, despite 12% abv. Think diner coffee with two sugars and milk.

Jonge Kriek by Brooklyn Brewery. Cherries dominate this tasty oak aged brett tinged brew based on Local 2.

Wild Streak, also from Brooklyn Brewery. An extra brut beer with notes of fruit that give way to oak notes and light brett finish.

Greenmarket Wheat Ale, again by Brooklyn Brewery, was a gentle, easy drinking wit beer with tart notes and a soft finish.

Big Alice team at Brewers Choice

Big Alice team at Brewers Choice

0052-Special Honey Smoked Ale by Big Alice Brewing of Long Island City.  This was a big, rich, complex beer with subdued smoke character. Good for dessert.

Hell Gate Golden Ale by Long Island’s Blind Bat Brewery, An unfiltered, cloudy deep golden, richly flavored brew with a notes of cardamom, bubble gum, bananas and, of course, It was produced using Valley Malt barley grown by O’Mara’s Farm, Canastota, N.Y., and coriander grown in Centerport, Long Island at Seed Sower Farm.

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Culinary Institute of America plans training brewery in Hudson Valley

Rendering of proposed Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA's student center

Rendering of proposed Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA’s student center

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), with a grant from the Brooklyn Brewery, is planning to develop a small brewery – the first training brewery on the East Coast – on the college’s Hyde Park, NY campus, near Poughkeepsie.

CIA officials anticipate The Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA, as the facility is to be called, will open in the summer of 2015.

Operations at the brewery will be integrated into the curriculum of the college’s degree programs. Juniors and seniors pursuing a concentration in Advanced Wine, Beverage, and Hospitality will staff the brewery and learn about fermentation and brewing techniques as well as the business aspects of running a small food and beverage operation.

The CIA, a not-for-profit college best known for its chef-training programs, is responsible for obtaining the requisite federal and state brewers licenses, but will get support from Brooklyn Brewery, CIA spokesman Jeff Levine said.

Brooklyn’s grant, about $250,000, will be used to equip the seven-barrel brewing facility, which will be located in the college’s new student union and dining facility, currently under construction. Housed within a glass-walled environment meant to evoke an old Brooklyn warehouse, the brewery initially will offer its own lager and pilsner, along with seasonal brews, on tap at the brewery and at the four CIA restaurants on campus.

Garrett Oliver

Garrett Oliver

Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver or a member of his team will visit the Hyde Park campus on a regular basis as guest lecturers and will assist CIA faculty in developing curriculum and recipes.

The CIA has long been involved in craft beer. Associate Dean Ken Turow co-founded and is advisor to the CIA’s Ale & Lager Educational Society. Turow also co-created a regional showcase of beer and food products and professional brewing competition the Hudson Valley Beer & Food Festival.

Moreover, the CIA has hosted series of beer dinners, one annually, beginning in 1995, featured the late British beer writer Michael Jackson. The beer dinners continue, though they have been fewer in recent years.

waldy_malouf

Waldy Malouf

“This partnership is forward thinking both in terms of culinary education and college dining,” said former New York City top chef Waldy Malouf, now senior director of special projects for the CIA. “In addition to being a craft brewery for campus visitors and students 21 and older, it will serve as a research and development classroom to create and test new beer flavors.”

“We have great respect for The Culinary Institute of America, its leaders, and its illustrious alumni,” Brooklyn Brewery co-founder and chairman Steve Hindy said in a statement. He noted that Brooklyn Brewery has worked with the college for more than two decades on beer and food promotions, and special dinners.

Steve Hindy

Steve Hindy

The University of California-Davis offered the first collegiate brewing course in the U.S. Sine 1958, it has has offered a unique specialization in brewing science as part of its undergraduate degree program in fermentation science. The campus has a 1.5-barrel pilot brewery, which was upgraded in 2006.

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Sips and nibbles at Brewers Association’s NYC SAVOR event

The crowd at Savor 2013 in New York City

The crowd at Savor 2013 in New York City

Two standout beers, Bell’s Raspberry Wild One and Schafly’s Single Malt Scottish Ale, made the event especially memorable along with some unique food pairings. Black dresses, kilts and top hat and tails.

Judging by the crowds, SAVOR, the Brewers Association’s craft beer and food-pairing event, held in New York City last week for the first time, was a success.

For two nights, adjoining high-ceilinged event spaces in Chelsea, the Metropolitan Pavilion and the Altman Building, once respectively the B. Altman Department Store and the other its carriage house, became an upscale beer festival as thousands of beer aficionados and foodies filled the enormous spaces to sample brews from 76 small and independent American breweries and sample gourmet eats paired to match152 brews.

And what an eclectic crowd! More than a few attendees were dressed for a night on the town in suit and tie or black dresses. Others wore blue jeans. One gent on Saturday night had on a kilt and another a top hat and tails.

Obscure brewers from the East, West and center of the country, as well as craft beer royalty, could be found on the floor pouring their wares. Among the industry leaders I spotted were Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Dick Cantwell of Elysian Brewing, Steve Hindy and Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery and Kim Jordan of New Belgium. Also there: BA founder Charlie Papazian.

The $175-a-person ticket price, considerably more than an admission to a session of the Great American Beer Festival in which 400 plus breweries participate, may have been a deterrent to larger crowds, I suspect. And salons with guided, small-scale tastings were additional. The price tag was understandable. New York City costs are high.

The edibles by and large, was delectable, though just mouth-sized morsels, some repeated at various tables. Not a surprise since so many of beers represented were similar in style. There were 33 IPAs, 20 Belgian-style ales, 10 Imperial IPAs and 10 saisons. I can’t say I had the time to truly savor many pairings as others behind me waited to get a pour and a nibble of their own.

Bell's Wild OneSchafley ScotchTwo memorable beers stood out from the crowd. The first was Raspberry Wild One from Bell’s Brewing, a complex, flavor-packed Flanders-style red sour. The second, Single Malt Scottish Ale from St. Louis’ Schafly Beer, a 10.2 percent abv wee heavy brewed with Optic malt and aged in used Highland Scotch whisky barrels from the Glen Garioch Distillery.  More like a wee dram than a wee heavy with notes of vanilla, smoky peat and caramel and orange peel.

It’s not easy to design a menu around beer. There’s a need for synergy between the food and the beer. And in many cases the matches were terrific.

Among the notable pairings I enjoyed were Cigar City’s Jose Marti stout with glazed short rib of beer with soft polenta and crispy leeks, Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA with celery shortbread cookie, The Lost Abbey’s Deliverance with seaweed nougat with honey and sesame and Bronx Breweery Belgian Pale Ale with goat cheese cheesecake with crunchy caramel corn.

The SAVOR food menu was planned by the BA’s culinary consultant Adam Dulye, a James Beard Award-semifinalist and chef/owner of The Monk’s Kettle and The Abbot’s Cellar in San Francisco, who worked with a group of chefs and Cicerones specializing in beer and food pairings.

“When it comes to pairings, one of the key aspects that sets craft beer apart is the fact that there are multiple beer styles to complement and contrast nearly any food or flavor profile,” Julia Herz, BA craft beer program director, said in a statement. “This is evident both in the broad variety of styles that craft brewers served at SAVOR 2013 and in the palate expanding experience from the pairing menu.”

SAVOR 2013 marked the first time the event has been held outside of Washington, D.C., its home since 2008. It returns to the nation’s capital on May 9 and 10, 2014.  Who’s going?

 

 

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Ommegang, Brooklyn, Saranac team up to brew Savor commemorative beer

Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, Brooklyn Brewery and Saranac in Utica have teamed up to brew a New York collaboration beer for the Brewers Association’s Savor beer and food pairing event in New York City on June 14-15.

Called New York Limited, the special beer is described by the brewers as a strong white lager—a wheat beer with spicing. It was brewed at Brooklyn Brewery. Fermented with lager yeast, the beer will be bottle-conditioned with ale yeast.  New York state ingredients were used as much as possible, including honey, multiple spices, including lemon verbena, and New York State hops.

New-York-Limited_front-labelThe brew will be presented as an exit gift to Savor attendees in a 750 ml corked and caged bottle.

New York Limited is the third consecutive year that a collaboration brew was produced for Savor.  In 2011, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, of Milton, Del., and Boston’s Samuel Adams brewed Savor Flower, a 10 percent ABV, oak aged beer brewed with rose water. Last year, Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kanas City, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., of Chico, Calif., created Terra Incognita, which was brewed with Sierra’s estate grown malt and finished in Missouri oak barrels with Boulevard’s strain of the Belgian Brettanomyces yeast.

Tickets to Savor, which will take place at the Altman Building on West 18th St., remain available through Ticketmaster,  according to the craft brewer trade group, sponsor of the event.

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Signs of spring: New beer standouts at the Long Island Craft Brewers Festival

Katie Joos taps a cask of Great South Bay Brewings' supper dry hopped  Massive IPA with Condzella hops

Katie Joos taps a cask of Great South Bay Brewings’ super dry hopped Massive IPA with Condzella hops, one of several special kegs available.

It was the first sign of the season: the Spring Craft Beer Festival at Long Island’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Beer fest logo

After days of rain and cool temperatures, on March 9 the sun shone bright, the sky was blue and the temperatures more moderate. Inside the Coliseum’s sprawling exhibition hall, bright smiles abounded on the faces of brewery reps and volunteers pouring beer and on the hundreds of attendees sampling their wares

And what wares. There were perhaps a hundred beers from more than 50 brewers— some of them familiar, many less so. A few brands were new to the region, among them Dark Horse, Horney Goat and Redd’s Apple Ale. Discovering new breweries and tasting exciting new products makes attending festivals, such as this event, produced by Starfish Productions of Bay Shore, worthwhile.

Volunteer Rich Thatcher of LI Beer & Malt Enthusiasts is all smiles as he pours Pabst Blue Ribbon

Volunteer Rich Thatcher of Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts is all smiles as he pours Pabst Blue Ribbon beer,

And while there were ciders, too, plus jerkies of all sorts, hot sauces, cigars, t-shirts and beer collectibles, beer, of course, was the star of the show. Among the brightest examples, at least for me:

— Reserve Special Black Ale by Dark Horse Brewery of Marshall, Mich., a rich roasty example of the style.

— Crooked Tree IPA, another Dark Horse entry. A big chewy, golden brew that screamed hops with some malt to back the big hop profile and a winey finish.

Euphoria, a 9% abv Belgian-style strong ale from Ruckus Brewing, a Manhattan-based contract brewer that plans to open in Allentown, Penn. Hazy gold in color, this delicious brew was smooth as silk and it’s high alcohol level deceptive.

New Burton IPA by Newburgh Brewing Co.  A balanced, British style brew.

Brown Ale by Newburgh Brewing Co. A deep brown, chewy brew with roasty notes and a bittersweet finish.

Saison by Newburgh Brewing Co, A cloudy golden brew with a spicy nose. Dry and herbal.

Fire Down Below, an Irish red ale by Spider Bite Beer Co.  It’s amber and it’s amply hopped as per the brewery’s trademark style.

Silver Anniversary Lager by Brooklyn Brewery.  A beautiful, well-balance 9% abv doppelbock that was among the best beers I sampled.  It’s an amber, full-bodied brew with sweet, juicy malt and caramel flavors intertwined with hops.

Timmerman’s Strawberry Lambic by Brewery Anthony Martin. Some Belgian Lambics are too sweet or too fruity. This pink-gold hued brew offered up a delicate strawberry nose and on the palate reminded me of strawberries and cream and surprisingly, no cloying sweetness.

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James Beard Foundation lists wine, beer and spirits pro award semifinalists

Who’s the top wine, spirits or beer professional in the country?

You’ll find them among The James Beard Foundation’s 2013 list of semifinalists for its annual award, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries.

Finalists will be announced March 18 and the award will be presented on May 6 at Avery Fisher Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

award-largeThe James Beard Foundation is a New York City-based foodies’ organization, named for the late cookbook author, educator and champion ofAmerican cuisine.  The Beard Foundation offers a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster a deeper understanding of American  culinary culture.

The list of semi-finalists, in alphabetical order:

The 2012 award winner in the category was Paul Greico, owner of Terroir Wine Bar in New York City.

The nominations were derived from  an online open call for entries that began in mid-October. This year, more than 44,000 entries were received, a list which the foundation’s restaurant and chef committee reviews to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 20 restaurant and chef awards categories, which include outstanding wine, spirits, or beer professional. The list of semifinalist nominees is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which includes  leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation winners, votes on specific award categories to determine  final five nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners. The governing awards committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners on  May 6.

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6 NY brewers among 76 picked to pour at Savor event in NYC June 14-15

Scene from Savor 2012

Scene from Savor 2012

A half dozen New York breweries are among 76 from across the nation selected by lottery to pour at Savor, An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, to be held in New York City on June 14-15.

Brooklyn Brewery, Bronx Brewery, Empire Brewing Co., Brewery Ommegang, Port Jeff Brewing, and Saranac Brewery were the six New York brewers selected from among 200 brewers who entered a lottery run by the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association, sponsor of the event. The lottery was held earlier this month.

The list includes 16 “Supporting Breweries” and another 60 breweries that were selected to showcase their beers over two evenings to thousands of beer and food lovers. The location of the event has not be announced.

All told, 76 breweries will serve their finest beers paired with special dishes from a menu crafted by Chef Adam Dulye of San Francisco’s Monk’s Kettle and Abbot’s Cellar restaurants.

Attendees will enjoy a diverse array of pairings, ranging from savory to sweet and everything in between. Not only that, Savor participating breweries represent all areas of the country, hailing from 26 different states. Some names are familiar, others not. Click here for the complete list of 2013 Savor breweries.

Previously, Savor was held in Washington, D.C. and will return there next year.

 

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