Farewell to a Friend: d.b.a.’s Dennis Zentek Celebrated in Memorial Service

DennisZentek_FBWhen d.b.a. co-founder Dennis Zentek was injured and died suddenly last month, we were in shock. Beer Sessions Radio™ host Jimmy Carbone had been working with Dennis and he was scheduled to be on the podcast on Heritage Radio Network later this spring. Thus, it was with heavy heart that we attended his memorial service this past Wednesday at d.b.a. (East Village) and neighboring Marble Cemetery on a beautiful cold day with cherry blossoms harkening new life despite the sadness of the ceremony taking place.
For our friends at d.b.a., the loss of Dennis is profound, coming less than three years since d.b.a. co-founder (and former Beer Sessions Radio™ co-host) Ray Deter passed away in a biking accident. Ray mentioned Dennis often on the show, but our favorite memory was from our inaugural episode, where Ray talks about how he and Dennis came up with the scheme that created one of New York City’s best beer bars (you can listen in on how Ray and Dennis founded d.b.a. about 1:43 into the podcast here).
Many of the remembrances of Dennis can be found on d.b.a.’s Facebook page, including this beautiful memory from Dennis’ brother Ron:

“Those of you who knew my brother, or just knew of him from me or one of the posters below will remember him as a unique individual whose greatest pride was saying he never worked a day in his life since as a Rock n Roll photographer, a bartender and finally a bar owner he was being paid for being at places he would have been anyway doing things he loved to do surrounded by beautiful women.”

Indeed, Dennis took many photographs of famous musicians, and in 1994 launched d.b.a., in part, to offer women a comfortable, higher-class bar in which to hang out and imbibe. But it’s the many friends that remain behind that are the true testament to Dennis’ reach.
We would personally like to thank the following GBS bars, friends of Beer Sessions Radio™, and various beer makers and distributors for their help at Wednesday’s memorial:
  • Joe Carroll of Fette Sau/Spuyten Duyvil
  • Anthony Malone of Swift Bar
  • Sam Barbieri of Waterfront Ale House
  • Tommy Harder of Blind Tiger
  • Meghan Connaire of Jimmy’s No. 43
  • Pat Fondiller of Smuttynose
  • Lucien Bistro
  • Plus brewers Abita, Anchor Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, Coney Island Brewery, Palm, Rodenbach, and Sly Fox for donating kegs to toast Dennis the way he would have liked, by “drinking good stuff.”

We know that Dennis has been reunited with Ray and they will be drinking the good stuff together, reminiscing on their all-too-brief but profound impact on the craft beer world.

What You Missed Beer Sessions Radio™: Beer Royalty and Queens Beer Week

QueensBeerWeek2014It’s a walk down memory lane as Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy reminisces about being a member of the “Class of 1988″ and breaking into the craft beer scene back when Bushwick was a battleground and New York was a huge beer import town. Steve joins Beer Sessions Radio™ host Jimmy Carbone as he discusses his new book, The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink. While the book encompasses the beer revolution dating back more than forty years, Brooklyn Brewery was one of 13 breweries launched (most originally as brewpubs) in 1988 that have gone on to greatness (Rogue, Deschutes, Goose Island among them).

Among the changes Steve highlights is the growth of craft beer breweries (up to 2800) and the number of Craft Brewers Conference attendees (at the first CBC in 1984, Steve said there were fewer than 50 people; last week’s conference held 10,000 participants). He also reveals a history of competing against big brewers and how the camaraderie of craft beer makers has allowed them to gain a foothold of 10 percent of the market (with approximately 16 percent of money spent).

And it’s Queens Beer Week! From April 18th-27th, Queens will be celebrating its burgeoning craft beer scene (latest brewer Anthony Accardi of Transmitter Brewing Co. in Long Island City, talks about his month-old brewery) with a kick-off party a Singlecut Beersmiths this Saturday at “Taste of Queens” from 7-11 p.m. Joining Anthony from Queens are Tommy Ortega (owner of Good Beer Seal bar Sunswick 35/35), Dan Bronson (organizer of Queens Beer Week), and Ben Sandler (also a GBS bar owner at Queens Kickshaw). The group is tasting “Queen of Tarts”, the official Queens Beer Week brew, made by our good friends (and honorary Queensians) Barrier Brewing Co.

Steve talks about his “frenemy” Jim Koch and how his beer almost was called the Brooklyn Eagle Beer. Plus, get the lowdown on his interviews with distributors as a watershed moment in the evolution of the craft beer revolution.

And Mike Lovullo chimes in on behalf of Union beer distributors and his own birthday party today (Wednesday, April 16th) at Blind Tiger.

It’s a great episode for both historians and new brew lovers alike. Listen to the full episode here.


What You Missed Beer Sessions Radio™: The Importance of Glassware

RiedelGlasswareWhat’s in your glass? This week on Beer Sessions Radio™, host Jimmy Carbone serves up beer in proper glassware as Riedel/Spiegelau Vice President Matthew Rutkowski discusses the company’s new line-up of beer glasses. Aside from their now famous IPA glass, Matthew introduces the recently launched Stout goblet (a collaboration with Rogue and Left Hand Brewing Co.). The breweries are present and accounted for, as Brett Joyce (from Rogue Ales & Spirits) and Left Hand Brewing Co. founder Eric Wallace discuss the year-long effort to design a perfect Stout glass.

Plus Justin Phillips from Beer Table talks about his journey in the competitive craft beer field as great beer is poured into perfect glasses on this week’s episode (listen here).

What You Missed Beer Sessions Radio™: For the Love of Saison

IMG_4544On this week’s episode of Beer Sessions Radio™, host Jimmy Carbone welcomes spring with the “Farmhouse Ales Guy,” Phil Markowski of Connecticut’s Two Roads Brewing Co. and author of  Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftmanship in the Belgian Tradition. Phil discusses his decades-old craft beer journey, dating to his days as brewer at New England Beer Company to the launch of his huge facility in Stratford, CT.

Phil is joined by members of his team, Paul Sullivan and John Kleinchester, as they describe the mission of Two Roads, which offers regional craft brewing while offering space to contract and gypsy brewers such as Evil Twin and Stillwater.

Phil discusses the evolution of farmhouse ales such as Saisons and Bières de Garde. He offers a preview of Two Roads’ brewery-only April 19th release of Krazy Pucker, their very sessionable (3.8% ABV) Berliner Weiss.

On the European side of brewing, Raphael Mettler of Brasserie Trois Dames and B.R. Royla from Shelton Brothers weigh in on the Swiss tradition and contribution to craft beer. Raphael is experimenting with wild yeast strains on native fruits (most grains and all hops have to be imported for brewing in Switzerland).

This leads to a discussion of how breweries are using more local ingredients. Jimmy notes, “Every region has traditional ingredients, and I like seeing that expression in beers.”

Hear about Two Roads plans for expanding into additional markets, and Raphael’s collaboration project with Crooked Stave and Jester King (a beer using the same ingredients, aged in identical barrels, but brewed in three different facilities… should be ready for horizontal sampling mid-2015).



What You Missed Beer Sessions Radio™: Ron Pattinson

HomeBrewersGuideThis week on Beer Sessions Radio™, host Jimmy Carbone bids farewell to a friend: We learned that Dennis Zentek of d.b.a. had passed away on Sunday. Our condolences go out to both his and the entire d.b.a. family. The craft beer world mourns with you.

This week’s episode (#206, listen here) was pre-recorded when Ron Pattison, author of The Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer and blogger of infamy, was in town on his book tour. He’s joined by Pretty Things owner/brewer Dann Paquette, who has brewed traditional beers with Ron since they met up in Amsterdam back in 2007. It’s a brewer’s (and historian’s) episode, as Ron delves into the history of brewing in 19th Century Britain (fact: the East India Porter was more popular and predates the better known IPA).

Later All About Beer editor John Holl joins the conversation, applauding Ron for “challenging us about what we think about beer.”

Is there an American future for cask ales? Ron claims, “The real beauty of cask beer is that it continues to develop.” However John thinks that until there’s brewer-led education, it will be hard to convince Americans that cask ale is anything but “flat and warm.”

Find out what are the UK’s best contributions to beer, plus the various styles of beers and how they changed between the mid-1800s and WWI. And you can geek out on a discussion that ranges from gravity to heavy hops and extinct beer styles.

Good Beer Seal Bars Compete in #BARchmadness

GoodBeerSealWe’re often asked, “What makes a Good Beer Seal bar?” Well, there’s a long answer and a short answer. The latter is “a bar committed to great craft beer and community.” But what really makes a Good Beer Seal bar is when the public recognizes its presence in the greater NYC bar/restaurant community. This past week, we saw just what a difference being a Good Beer Seal bar makes, when Brew York New York‘s Chris O’Leary set up a #BARchmadness bracket, pairing off 64 of the city’s best bars in a fight for bragging rights. Modeled on the NCAA’s March Madness, this bracket competition invited the public to vote for their favorite bars.

Amongst those 64 pairings were 32 Good Beer Seal bars. Let’s do the math: There are approximately 1700 bars in the city, of which 45 are GBS bars (while there are 50 GBS bars total, some are in New Jersey or on Long Island… the non-Brooklyn part). Thus, fewer than three percent of the city’s bars have been awarded the Good Beer Seal, yet 50 percent of the bars chosen to compete are GBS bars. That’s what makes a GBS bar special. And, what’s more, the second round has just begun, revealing 19 GBS bars advancing. In other words, GBS bars now make up almost 60 percent of the bars in #BARchmadness!

In the first round, the following GBS bars were paired off (sadly, many against each other):

In Manhattan In Brooklyn
124 Old Rabbit Club

Blind Tiger

Burp Castle

Dive Bar

George Keeley’s

Idle Hands

Jimmy’s No. 43



The Pony Bar

The Pony Bar UES

The Stag’s Head

4th Avenue Pub

61 Local



Mission Dolores

Mugs Alehouse

Pacific Standard

Pine Box Rock Shop

Spuyten Duyvil

The Diamond

The Double Windsor

The Gate

The Owl Farm


In Queens In Staten Island In The Bronx

Sunswick 35/35

The Queens Kickshaw

Adobe Blues

Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria

Bronx Ale House

Moving on to Round 2, we hope you’ll support the following GBS bars with your vote:

  • 4th Avenue Pub
  • Barcade
  • Bronx Alehouse
  • Idle Hands
  • Jimmy’s No. 43
  • Mission Dolores
  • The Double Windsor

These GBS bars are facing off against each other, so go with your favorite:

  • Blind Tiger v. Mugs Alehouse
  • The Owl Farm v. The Pony Bar
  • Alewife v. The Gate
  • Rattle-N-Hum v. Bierkraft
  • 124 Old Rabbit Club v. Proletariat
  • The Pony Bar UES v. Dive Bar