Sure, the growth of the craft beer scene in NYC has been phenomenal in the six years that we’ve had the Good Beer Seal, but possibly nowhere is this growth more noticeable than in our “royal” counties of Kings and Queens. This week on Beer Sessions Radio™ on Heritage Radio Network, host Jimmy Carbone is welcoming some of the local beer people and press from Brooklyn and Queens to ask the question: Where is the beer scene cooler?
Alia Akkam of Edible Queens and Rachel Wharton of Edible Brooklyn face off in friendly fashion to talk about their respective boroughs. Alia talks about how craft beer is now making Queens a destination (beyond all the cool ethnic food options). Leading the way in Queens are Rockaway Brewing (help contribute to their crowdfunded canning line here), Singlecut Beersmiths, and Bridge & Tunnel (owner Rich Costanza is in the studio, pouring his Habanero IPA). Rich talks about being a Queens native brewing in his hometown.
On the other side of the island (and aisle), Sam Richardson and Matt Monahan from The Other Half are representing Brooklyn, pouring their Superfun! and Hop Showers. Rachel follows up on a previously aborted interview attempt. Sam talks about his transition from Oregon (where he got his degree in brewing science) to his new brewery opening in Brooklyn.
And Jon Lundbom of B. United returns to the studio to help Jimmy co-host. Later German brewer Matthias Richter also drops in to talk about their beers and brewing style.
Plus Jimmy announces that the suspense is over! As most Good Beer Seal fans know, for the past five Julys, the Mayor’s office proclaimed July Good Beer Month in NYC. With the new administration coming on, we weren’t sure when (or if) Mayor Bill de Blasio would applaud the craft beer scene in the same fashion as the Bloomberg administration. But this week, Jimmy received the Mayor’s letter, praising the growth of the beer scenes in the outer boroughs.
Something we’ve been helping promote for six years. So, raise your glass to July Good Beer Month with your favorite brew from (or at your favorite bar in) Queens and Brooklyn and listen to the full episode here.
We’re half way through the sixth annual July Good Beer Month, and we’ve gathered a diverse group to talk about the NYC craft beer scene and how it has evolved these past six years. Joining Beer Sessions Radio™ host Jimmy Carbone are homebrewers, Simon Tepas and Andrew Said Thomas of Knights of Bruklyn, Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson, Killmeyers bar owner Ken Tirado, Chris Sheehan of Gun Hill Brewery, Rockaway Brewing co-owner Marcus Burnett, and Katherine Kyle of Blind Tiger. (That’s representatives from all five boroughs, if you’re keeping track!)
Marcus is trying to raise money for their new canning line via crowdfunding. Katherine talks about how the scene has changed from when Blind Tiger was the “go-to bar before there were beer bars all over.” Andrew, who came from the old Chelsea Brewing, talks about the unlikely success of their brewery.
Find out what’s happening on the scene today, and what everyone is drinking on this week’s episode here.
Last year the Good Beer Seal welcomed Long Island into the fold, an on this episode of Beer Sessions Radio™ on the Heritage Radio Network, host Jimmy Carbone welcomes COO Phil Ebel and assistant brewer Mike Peterson of Great South Bay Brewery. They’re talking about launching a brewery on Long Island and how a doctor went to being a professional brewer (founder Rick Sobotka is also an anesthesiologist). They talk about the difficulties of self distribution and growing their business in the city and beyond. Long Island beer writer Niko Krommydas recently collaborated with the brewery, and his “Niko Weisse” is now offered at several GBS Bars (including Jimmy’s No. 43).
Plus, “Pioneer” Ed Berestecki of Mugs Alehouse talks about having 22 years of Sierra Nevada on tap (Jan Apanich is in the studio representing the west coast brewery) and the stalwart beers that remain house staples. With 32 draft lines, Mugs Alehouse has the ability to keep the traditional while bringing in many new beers that “push the envelope.” As Ed says, “People can explore, but they also can fall back on a favorite.” Mugs is one of the first stops on the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Tour, with 12 beers brewed by Sierra Nevada and various brewers ranging from 3Floyds to Victory Brewing. They’re doing a seven-city beer festival leading up to the grand opening of their East Coast brewery expansion on August 1st.
Listen to the full episode here.
Beer Sessions Radio™ host Jimmy Cabone recently traveled to Oxford, CT, for a personal tour of B. United’s latest venture: a brewery called OEC (Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores). Joined by Jon Lundbom, B.United mastermind Matthias Neidhart, and OEC’s brewmaster Ben Neidhart, the Beer Sessions team samples some of the brewery’s best offerings, plus discusses the nearly-inevitable evolution of B. United from pure importer into craft brewery.
From importer to finisher to brewer, B. United has established itself as one of the country’s renowned beer curators. Among our favorite breweries they work with are Hitachino (we were there when the tanker pulled up; yes, we did sample from it!) and Swiss Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM), but B. United decided to launch their own brand about three months ago. They built an authentic copper coolship (making them one of a handful of breweries in the country with a coolship) and they are growing many of the ingredients they use in the beer for optimal freshness. As Matthias notes, “The best way to bring in the highest quality beers is to have complete control of our conditioning.” Many of their spices, for example, are added to the beer within 20 minutes of harvest.
Hear all about the new venture on this week’s (pre-taped) Episode #220.
This week on Beer Sessions Radio™, host Jimmy Carbone is talking hoppy Belgian beers with certified Cicerone® Brendan Woodcock, who lends his tasting expertise as practice for his upcoming Master Cicerone® test (and we wish him the best of luck!) Pour for Brendan’s discerning palate are Dan Leeman and Shahan Stepanian from Global Imports, along with Nathan Hukill from Bitter Old Fecker Rustic Ales in Michigan and Fool’s Gold bar owner, Patrick Donagher.
Brendan talks through the various stages of testing in the premiere beer education certification. He notes that the Cicerone® Server (i.e. first level) test is mostly exploratory, whereas the Certified (second level) test is more about “knowing what you don’t know.” He’s in the process of learning all that he didn’t already know and provides context for the hop styles of traditional Belgian ales. The group discusses the merits of Belgians as varied as Poperings Hommel Bier and Taras Bulba. They also discuss how American craft beer is changing the way Belgium looks at beer, particularly when it comes to hops profiles. Whereas Belgian hoppy ales are typically all about balance, the out-of-whack bitter “hop bombs” of American IPAs are definitely impacting what European drinkers expect in a hoppy beer.
Plus Nathan discusses his family’s rich history in making beer (and hootch – his grandparents were bootleggers during Prohibition) in an historical setting. He’s using old-world techniques to produce rustic beers (currently not available in the NYC market, boo hoo!). And Patrick discusses the challenges of juggling multiple bars in NYC (he also is an owner of Alewife and Rattle ‘n Hum).
Listen to the full episode here.
Hanging at the Three Penny in Montpelier, VT.
On a very special episode of Beer Sessions Radio™ on the Heritage Radio Network, host Jimmy Carbone welcomes back to the show Good Beer Seal co-founder and Blind Tiger owner Dave Brodrick. Jimmy is announcing a July Good Beer Month preview: The Good Beer Seal is expanding to Vermont and Toronto!
Dave talks about taking a tour along the “IPA Highway” (route 89) recommending a pub tour beginning in Brattleboro, VT:
- Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery to
- Dave’s Worthy Burger in Woodstock, VT, to
- Three Penny and Positive Pie in Montpelier, VT, to
- Prohibition Pig and Blackback Pub in Waterbury, VT, ending at
- Farmhouse Bar & Grille in Middlebury, VT
Will any of these great establishments be awarded the Good Beer Seal? You’ll find out in July! In the meantime, Dave talks about what makes a bar a Good Beer Seal bar: Great beer, building relationships with brewers and importers, and having knowledgeable and educated staff.
Dave and Jimmy are also taking the Good Beer Seal international to Toronto, and Tomas Morana of Bar Volo weighs in on the Toronto craft beer scene, which has grown dramatically in the past five years. Both Tomas and Dave talk about how educating customers is a key part of building a craft beer bar. Tomas and his parents went so far as to launch their own import company to get around the highly regulated beer business in Ontario.
The group is talking about summer beer festivals, including Coney Island On Tap, which will take place at the Cyclones’ Stadium in Coney Island. Dave mentions Vermont Brewers Festival (“which sells out in 90 seconds”) and Pub House Jam in Bolton Valley (Labor Day weekend). Tomas and his family began Cask Days in 2005 with 20 firkins of questionable quality. The 2013 Cask Days had expanded to more than 250 firkins from across Canada and the U.K. This year’s Cask Days will run October 24-26.
Plus, Brandon Carter, Executive Chef of The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Hilton Head, SC, talks food and his favorite foods (including oysters) and the beer pairing menus he’s curated at his restaurant (and his exploration of the Brooklyn restaurant scene while he’s in town). He and Jimmy are talking gumbo and “southern” beers. Don’t leave before you try the buttermilk fried chicken.
We’re pairing beers and drinking, too! It’s another great episode of Beer Sessions, so bring your favorite brew and listen in (here).