What You Missed Beer Sessions Radio™: Beer Writers, Young Turks of Brewing, and “Blame it on the Grain”

Bunker Brewing in the, well, bunker! During Josh's Lagering Caves NYC Beer Week Tour.

Bunker Brewing in the, well, bunker! During Josh’s Lagering Caves NYC Beer Week Tour.

This week on Beer Sessions Radio™ on the Heritage Radio Network, host Jimmy Carbone welcomes back some of our favorite beer writers, as Josh Bernstein and Niko Krommydas join new authors Giancarlo and Sarah Annese (Beer Lover’s New York: The Empire State’s Best Breweries, Brewpubs & Beer Bars). Together they do a recap of one of Jimmy’s favorite NYC Beer Week events, Josh’s tour of the old Nassau Brewing lagering caves. Josh discusses the rich history of beer in Brooklyn, noting that he likes to conduct tours where “you drink and think at the same time.”

Among the brewers that were serving up—what else?—lagers during the event was Chresten Sorensen from Bunker Brewing Co. in Portland, ME. Chresten discusses the challenges of opening a new brewery plus breaks down the beer scene in Portland. By phone, Luke and Walt Dickson of Wicked Weed Brewing discuss how large established breweries are helping small up-and-coming brewers via collaboration (Wicked Weed, based in Asheville, brewed their Brett IPA with now-neighbor New Belgium).

Giancarlo and Sarah discuss their travels through NY State and the many small breweries that surprised them with quality beers. Jimmy segues into a wrap-up of Brewer’s Choice, where more than 6,000 pounds of local grains were incorporated into this year’s brews. A major concern for small brewers is getting local ingredients, and NY has a long way to go to keep up with demand. The panel agrees that “grains are the new hops” and that anyone opening a malthouse in the northeast will be inundated with orders.

Both looking back and ahead on this week’s episode (listen here).

What You Missed Beer Sessions Radio™: Beer “Czar” and The State of Beer in NY State

ude in black jacket taller is edward asst to state assemblyman joe lentol rep of wburg/greenpoint very big supporter of ny beer and instrumental in keeping brooklyn brewery in bklyn my phone is dead no text no calls no email right now off to att store ill check back 12 noon

At Brewer’s Choice (from left): Edward Baker (Assistant to State Assemblyman Joe Lentol), Beer “Czar” Sam Filler, Beer Sessions Radio host Jimmy Carbone, and Dave Brodrick (Blind Tiger, Worthy Burger).

On this week’s episode of Beer Sessions Radio on the Heritage Radio Network, host Jimmy Carbone is discussing the state of beer in New York State! It’s a policy show, but also of major importance as craft beer continues to grow in NY.

Jimmy is joined in the studio by the Beer “Czar”  Sam Filler. Sam helps facilitate local beer production using regional grains and hops. Laurel Greyson of NYU and the Urban Farm Lab drops by to talk about her plans to open a local malting facility and distillery, and what that means for local drinkers.

Newest brewer in the Bronx, Davey Lopez of Gun Hill Brewery, also talks about his journey to having started the first farm brewery in New York City.

Later, Jimmy calls Pat Hooker, Deputy Secretary of New York State, to talk about the economic benefits of promoting local beer, wine, cider and spirits. Paul Leone, the Executive Director of the New York State Brewer’s Association, joins the program to talk about the boom in Craft New York Beer Fests. Steve Miller calls in to talk about the proper way to grow hops in New York!

GBS Bars to Launch Two Roads Brewing in NYC

Brewmaster Phil Markowski will be behind the sticks at NYC Brewers Choice on 2/26.

Brewmaster Phil Markowski will be behind the sticks at NYC Brewers Choice on 2/26.

One of the questions we’re often asked is, “What makes a craft beer bar a Good Beer Seal bar?” While there are many factors that go in to selecting members each July, the Good Beer Seal basically lets anyone know that this bar is special. And when a special brewer decides to launch in NYC, we’re thrilled that our Good Beer Seal bars are his (or her) first point of entry into the largest marketplace in the US.

Thus it is that we welcome Two Roads Brewing Co. to Manhattan and Brooklyn (and eventually beyond), where they’ll be debuting at Good Beer Seal bars, along with NYC Brewers Choice on February 26th! We spent a great time out in Stratford, CT, this weekend, getting to know the Two Roads’ team of Brewmaster Phil Markowski, marketing gurus Brad Hittle and Clem Pellani, plus various members of the hospitable Two Roads crew.

Their facility is impressive, offering both in-house and contract brewing. Although it’s a bit of a trip on Metro North to get there, they have converted a huge 100+ year old space that will take the average bar owner’s breath away. With a commitment to green brewing (they’re putting in solar panels and they recycle everything), Two Roads Brewing Co. is truly a part of their community, in much the same way as Good Beer Seal bars commit to improving theirs.

So, where can you find Two Roads in the coming weeks? Check out these events:

  • On February 19th – Blind Tiger will host Phil and offer a selection of core brands and limited release beers.
  • On February 20th – The Owl Farm puts a Brooklyn spin on Two Roads’ launch.
  • On February 26th – Phil will be pouring his own brews at NYC Brewer’s Choice.
  • On February 27th – Two Roads Brewing Co. comes to Spuyten Duyvil.

And we’ll soon have a full list of all the Good Beer Seal bars’ NYC Beer Week events. So, come out and drink Two Roads and get ready for some amazing happenings at a Good Beer Seal bar near you!


What You Missed Beer Sessions Radio™: Our 200th Episode with Bell’s Brewing

BellsBrewingIt’s a banner day over at Beer Sessions Radio™ on the Heritage Radio Network as we celebrate four years of podcasting and our 200th episode!
And what a guest to have with us on an auspicious NYC beer day! We were lucky enough to meet Larry Bell of the eponymous Bell’s Brewery from Michigan. Larry is joined by beer writer Josh Bernstein (who is a huge fan of the Michigan beer scene), our favorite beer actor Jimmy Ludwig, and Good Beer Seal bar owner Paul Kermizian (Barcade Brooklyn and Jersey City, among other locations).
Host Jimmy Carbone discusses matters both silly (Playboy and vodka at the local barber!) and serious (the threat to our water from the Keystone Pipeline).
But mostly it’s a trip down memory lane for Larry, making his 10th visit to NYC (“NYC, Bell’s… Couldn’t be happier!”) but remembering his first visit as a child (he got to see Yankee Stadium).
We learn all about “soft peachy apricot fruitiness” (a description of Bell’s Amber Ale attributed to the late Michael Jackson) as we discover more about “the original nanobrewer” (Larry began as a homebrewer back in 1983).
It’s great to be 200! We invite you to open up a Hopslam and listen in here.

What You Missed On Beer Sessions Radio™: Contract Brewing

The poster that launched a vibrant Facebook debate.

The poster that launched a vibrant Facebook debate.

What is beer? What constitutes being a “brewery”? On this week’s episode (listen here) of Beer Sessions Radio™ on the Heritage Radio Network, two of craft beers most ardent opponents of contract brewing argue their case over why local beer is one part craft, 99 parts community. Rich Buceta of Singlecut Beersmiths in Queens started quite the firestorm late last year when he posted a sign referencing the concerns in some part of the craft beer world that contract brewing isn’t “real” brewing. Greenport Harbor’s Jeff Dorowski continues the conversation he began on one of our first shows talking about his concerns with contract brewing. And Augie Carton of Carton Brewing chimes in on the importance of Carton being a local brewery.

Beer Sessions Radio™ producer and beer writer Justin Kennedy, even comes up with a new rubric to discuss the types of breweries (and this blogger would add “Brewpub” to this list):

  1. “Brand” Brewery – No physical presence, no personality associated with the beer, not an individual brewer.
  2. “Brewery in Planning” – A “locally” marketed beer with the intention of eventually building a facility associated with the brand (early Brooklyn Brewery is a good example; Bronx Brewing is a modern example).
  3. Gypsy Brewers – No physical presence, but definitely a personality or brewer associated with the brand.
  4. Diversified Brewery – A growing presence necessitating off-premise brewing; Sixpoint of late.
  5. “Traditional” Brewery – A brick-and-mortar presence with a brewer and/or personality, serving the immediate community and perhaps distributed regionally.

We invite you to listen in and form your own opinion about what makes a “brewery” part of the craft beer community.


What You Missed On Beer Sessions Radio™: Other Half Brewing

LagerCaves_NikoKIt’s a dark and stormy night this week on Beer Sessions Radio™, as host Jimmy Carbone welcomes a dynamic but small group into the studio. We’ve got beer writer Niko Krommydas along with first-time guests Matt Monahan and Sam Richardson from Other Half Brewing Co., the first new brewery to open in Brooklyn in nine years. Sam discusses his time brewing with Kelly Taylor at Greenpoint Beerworks and getting his Fermentation Science creds from Oregon State University before launching Other Half.

Niko offers a Long Island beer update shares his opinions on the new breweries opening in the area (he jokes to Jimmy, “Every time a brewery opens in NYC, an angel gets its wings!”).

And we’re getting a beer week preview with events as varied as NYC Brewer’s Choice (on February 26th), which will be focusing on locally grown grains (Kelly Taylor is making a brew with 75% of its grains sourced from NY State: Edible Ale from Kelso will be available seasonally), and a lager cave tour with beer writer Joshua Bernstein (sadly, it sold out in minutes – see the photo courtesy of Niko at left). Plus Brady Lowe calls in about his heritage “porc” event, Cochon555 happening this weekend (tickets available here).

Finally, Beer Sessions Radio™ Justin Kennedy joins the group to discuss emerging beer styles and what they represent (e.g. there’s a movement to have a “Cascadian Ale” designation for brews coming from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia). What’s the difference between a Black IPA and a Dark Ale? Is local beer preferable to national craft brands? Everyone has a story to share on this week’s episode (listen here).