This week Beer Sessions Radio™ on The Heritage Radio Network welcomes Shelton Brothers Imports into the studio. Brother Joel and French beer specialist (and regular BSR guest) B.R. Rolya are pouring some of their favorite European imports, while fellow Good Beer Seal bar owner Joe Carroll (Spuyten Duyvil) reminisces about being one of the very first bars to have Shelton Brothers beers in NYC.
Host Jimmy Carbone admits that Shelton’s portfolio holds the kind of “beers that inspire us to get into craft beer to begin with.” Joe echos Jimmy’s sentiment, noting that 11 years ago, there weren’t a lot of domestic craft beers distributed in NYC and the European beers were “big beers” that didn’t appeal to the north Brooklyn community that frequented Spuyten Duyvil. They were looking for German Lagers, and Mahr’s Bräu was one of the first imports they brought in.
Joel discusses the early days of the company, when he would wander Europe with copied pages of Michael Jackson’s The World Guide To Beer, wandering from pub to brewery in search of finding the best beers (Dan Shelton was friends with Michael Jackson before the latter’s death). Shelton’s philosophy is finding beers that reflect “a sense of place or a new beer tradition.” Shelton Brothers look for beers with an emphasis on balance and depth and simple quality. “It’s always about the beer taste, not the ingredients themselves.”
Joe names his top five brands:
- Mahr’s (also a favorite of B.R.’s)
- de Ranke
- Jolly Pumpkin
And Jimmy admits to loving Dieu du Ciel! from Quebec. Listen to the entire episode here.
Last night at Edible’s Good Beer—the annual food and beer bash that is effectively a closing party for July Good Beer Month—we announced the sixth annual Good Beer Seal Awards. The Good Beer Seal was established to fill a void in the craft beer industry, whereby there’s a lot of talk about beers and brewers but not so much about the retailers who sell great craft beer. Every year, a group of beer industry insiders and beer writers gathers to nominate a slate of worthy bars and bottle shops that deserve to be included in our elite community. The slate then is routed for voting. This year, eight bars made the cut:
- ABC Beer Co.—This retail bar/shop on Avenue C has been quietly making its mark on the larger East Village beer scene with a dozen draught lines and growlers to go.
- Crescent & Vine—Astoria is becoming a go-to spot for beer lovers! This cool shop was where we read this year’s mayoral proclamation that July is Good Beer Month and is at the heart of Queens’ emergence on the craft beer scene.
- Malt & Mold—There are many bars attempting to do regular beer and food pairings, but Malt & Mold’s beer and cheese tastings place them ahead in a crowded field.
- One Mile House—Situated right off the Bowery J stop, this “gastropub meets street easy” is a drink of fresh water (or beer!) on crazy Delancey Street, offering a more traditional take in an otherwise trendy SoHo neighborhood.
- St. Gambrinus—Another Brooklyn bottle shop (within throwing distance of the Barclay Center) is known for its diverse selection of beers and knowledgeable staff.
- The Good Life—Last year the Good Beer Seal left the borders of the five boroughs and ventured out to NJ and Long Island. The Good Life is this year’s sole non-NYC entry into the Good Beer Seal family.
- The Sampler Bushwick—This Bushwick bottle shop recently hit its one-year anniversary, and offers up tastings, small plates, and 20 draught lines, bringing craft beer to an area of Brooklyn where few options are available.
- Tørst—Not only among the best Brooklyn or NYC bars, this Greenpoint bar (home to Evil Twin) has been consistently ranked as one of the best beer bars in the world.
And there you have it! The Good Beer Seal has grown to 59 establishments, in and around NYC. Craft beer lovers from everywhere can rest assured of a superior drinking experience at these venues, and we congratulate the 2014 inductees!
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.