New York City Beer Week is almost here, so repeat after me: Can you swig it? Can you swig it? Caaann youuuu swigggggg itttttt?
Beer Week’s eighth (and potentially dopest) edition starts this Friday, launching ten consecutive days of events across the marvelous metropolis—including many in Brooklyn. These are our five favorites happening in the birthplace of Bernie.
Niko’s Note: Since we’ll be posting our interview with Garrett Oliver on Black Chocolate Stout’s twenty-first birthday in a few days, its upcoming party wasn’t considered for the below list.
Winter’s Grind at Arrogant Swine: Part II
Saturday, February 27
Arrogant Swine, 173 Morgan Ave.
The second edition of Winter’s Grind, an annual celebration of glorious gluttony partnering specialty hand-cranked sausages with locally brewed beers, returns to Tyson Ho’s barbecue joint in Bushwick. The sequel to last year’s sold-out event—which was also organized by the aforementioned pitmaster; Joshua M. Bernstein, author of The Complete Beer Course and frequent organizer of dope beer events; and Chris Cuzme, one-half of Cuzett Libations and a brewer for KelSo Beer Co.—ambitiously promises attendees an endless supply of eight different sausages from Arrogant and other charcuterie specialists (John Brown Smokehouse’s incendiary offering is affectionately dubbed the “Butt Burner”). They’re also offering 25 “February-friendly” beers made by both amateur and professional brewers (a rauchbier from Rockaway Brewing features grains smoked at the Meat Hook). “Last year was such a rollicking good time that we decided to do another edition for Beer Week. Endless beer. Endless sausage. What’s not to love?” says Bernstein, who also promises a larger heated tent than last year’s, “to make this a true indoor-outdoor, weather-defying experience.”
Tuesday, February 23
Greenpoint Beer Works, 529 Waverly Ave.
Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is a Christian holiday observed annually on January 6 to commemorate the gift-bearing visit of the magi to the Bebe Jesus. KelSo Beer Co. celebrated Epiphany last month by generously donating wort—the sweet, unfermented liquid extracted from the mashing process during brewing—to 85 local homebrewers with a single request: make something with it and bring that to Brewpiphany Revelations to share. The giveaway was done in partnership with Bitter & Esters, a homebrew shop in Prospect Heights, during the latter’s monthly bottle-share event, which is called Brewpiphany. “It was a fantastic time to have it at KelSo brewery. People were happily swapping beers while getting their five gallons of wort and talking about what they could make. A lot of positive, creative juices were flowing,” recalls John LaPolla, one of Bitter & Esters’ owners. There are over 50 participants bringing their homemade concoctions to Revelations (Mary Izett, author of Speed Brewing, will pour a Southeast Asian-inspired kettle-soured brew conditioned with mango purée, flaked sea salt, and powdered habanero). In addition to samples of these, the 50 tickets available to non-homebrewers also includes unlimited KelSo liquid.
SMaSH Brewer’s Brunch
Sunday, February 21
Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co., 7 N 15th St.
This brunch offers one of the few opportunities to encounter all of Beer Week’s “SMaSH beers,” the result of a unique terroir-driven project that tasks many of the metropolis’s craft breweries with using the same sextet of locally grown ingredients in a recipe. In this context, SMaSH is an acronym for “State Malts and State Hops” (typically it’s “Single Malt and Single Hop”). Beer Week’s governing body, the New York City Brewers Guild, introduced the project as part of last year’s offerings, consistent with the recent movement by craft brewers countrywide to use local grains, hops, fruits and honey. The latest crop of participants employed the same three hops (Cascade, Chinook and Willamette, all grown by Upstate Hops) and three grains (malted spelt from Pioneer Malting and Germantown Beer Farm’s caramel and pale malts) to create 15 SMaSHers in total. The event’s host, Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co., has two brews: Acidifus Locale, a sour farmhouse ale brewed with Tremblay Apiaries apple blossom honey and conditioned with Bartlett pears from Maynard Farms, and Biodome Classic, described as a “’90’s brewpub IPA at its finest!” The brewers will be in attendance to talk about their beers, as well as Pioneer Malting’s Adam Filipetti.
Big Woody 2016
Saturday, February 20
Spuyten Duyvil, 359 Metropolitan Ave.
An annual salivate-inducing showcase of limited high-alcohol and barrel-aged beers (selections often satisfy both requirements), Big Woody was introduced at Joe Carroll’s venerable bar in 2006, shortly after Goose Island Beer Co. debuted a complex and now-classic imperial stout named Bourbon County. “When that came out there was a noticeable quest among beer fans for big, burly and barrel-aged beers. Woody was simply a way to showcase the best that we could get across all of those categories every year,” says Carroll, who favors no specific regions or beer styles when compiling the list that commandeers Spuyten’s seven drafts, including its one cask, and includes 40-ish rare and obscure bottles. This year’s will include a version of Mikkeller’s Santa’s Little Helper aged in Cognac barrels. “It’s the first time I’ve seen kegs of it, and likely only a few are in existence,” he says.
Knock Three Times
Thursday, February 25
Industry City Distillery, 33 35th St., 6th Fl.
A trio of small-scale alcoholic-beverage producers are preparing to launch a brewing co-op from Industry City in Sunset Park. The two breweries—Wartega, which is “using ancient beer ingredients and bringing culinary inspiration to its ales,” according to a press release, and Lineup, Katarina Martinez’s female-led operation—will share Barrier Brewing’s old one-barrel brewing system. David Kyrejko’s Arcane Distilling, meanwhile, is a “bizarre little distillery specializing in making craft beer into extraordinary whiskeys.” Knock Three Times serves as a preview of the three companies, offering unlimited pours in the space they’ll share with Industry City Distillery. They plan to be fully licensed and selling liquid in the “later this year,” says Merlin U Ward, Wartega’s brewer.