Belgian IPA seems to be an emerging style, once which I’m really looking forward to seeing mature. I think Belgian yeast adds a really nice flavor to an IPA. A while back, Sixpoint did a Belgian IPA and Double Belgian IPA, both of which were absolutely delicious.
A little late, but I went to the New York Brewfest last Sunday. Christina got me the Connoisseur Pass, for which I am eternally grateful. This is why. Until the severe crowding later on, I had a great time. My only two disappointments were that many of the breweries had event volunteers pouring, with no representatives there, and that they mostly had their common beers. I was really hoping for some interesting one-offs, like from Sixpoint. All Sixpoint had were their Sweet Action and Righteous Rye. Both great beers, but I’ve had them tons of times.
We were given hard plastic 4 oz. tasting cups. I intended to try a lot of beers, so the ones I wasn’t excited about, I dumped out after about half. I don’t have a very high tolerance for alcohol (the downside to loving beer and whiskey), so this would help. The standouts for me were the Elysian Imortal IPA and Weihenstephan Dunkel. Everything I’ve had from both of these breweries has been fantastic. Elysian’s Drangonstooth Stout is my favorite stout, and all of Weihenstephan’s beers for me are the best of their type. Christina’s favorite was the Tröegs Sunshine Pils. Tasting was getting hard after a while with so many beers; I felt my taste buds were getting a little tainted. Below is the rest of the ones I tried, rated from 1-5, which is how I have to do it because of Bento:
Kelso Saison – 3/5
Elysian The Immortal IPA – 5/5
Greenport Harbor Ale – 3/5
Schneider Hopfen-Weisse – 4/5
Boulder Mojo IPA – 4/5
Great Divide Samurai Ale – 4/5
Erie Mad Anthony’s APA – 3/5
Nebraska Hop God – 3/5
River Horse Tripel Horse – 3/5
Left Hand Chainsaw Ale – 4/5
Southern Tier Hop Sun – 3/5
Popering’s Hommel Bier – 4/5
Southampton Abbot 12 – 4/5
Tröegs Hop Back Amber – 4/5
Tröegs Sunshine Pils – 3/5
Bear Republic is another of my favorite breweries. First beer I ever had from them was their Hop Rod Rye, a rye IPA. Delicious. I’ve since had their Racer 5 IPA, one of my favorite IPAs, Racer X, one of my favorite Double IPAs, Big Bear Black Stout, and the Rye Pale Ale. Definitely a brewery from which I’ll try anything I can get my hands on. All of these I’ve had on tap, and the Racer 5 (and I think Racer X as well) on cask. The Racer 5 I’ve also had in various incarnations, with the brewer being heavy on a particular hop, in these cases either Chinook or Columbus; both on cask. I preferred the Columbus.
In April, Christina and I went out to San Francisco. We planned to rent a car and drive up to Sonoma to do some wine tasting. I said if we’re going up there, we also have to visit Bear Republic, who has a brew pub in Healdsburg. The main brewery in Cloverdale isn’t set up for tours. We were given a little tour by Ray Lindecker, brewmaster and super nice guy. He even came in on his day off to show us around. Even though they had lots of interesting beers to try, I ended up having a Racer 5. Typical, yes, but I figured where else would I ever have it so fresh as right at the brewery? Christina had the Peter Brown Tribute Ale, which was actually supposed to be a porter. It was fantastic. I wish I could have tried more, but I was driving and we still had more wine to taste. I really need to get back there and spend more time.
Any beer geek must have their favorite overall breweries, where their taste falls in line with most of that brewery’s beers. Sixpoint Craft Ales is one of them for me. Based in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Sixpoint has been around since 2005. I remember in 2005 the first time I had one of their beers, their Sweet Action. It was a lazy summer day, hanging around Carroll Gardens with some friends, and we stopped into Brooklyn Social for some beers. A friend told me I had to try this beer from a new brewery in Brooklyn, called Sixpoint. Skeptical, I tried it, and was very pleasantly surprised. I was told it was some sort of blonde ale, but it tasted like a hybrid of an IPA and a wheat beer. Fast forward to today, Sixpoint is hugely popular, their Bengali Tiger IPA is one of my absolute favorite beers, and I’ve now tried 26 different beers from them, many of them one-offs at different events. I pretty consistently love any beer I try from them and get really excited when I hear about a new one that I haven’t.
Sixpoint doesn’t bottle, other than the recent limited run of their fantastic Grand Crüe. Hopefully those outside of NYC will be lucky enough to find it on tap somewhere. So fortunate to have one of your favorite breweries local!
Last night, I met John and Joel at The Modern, MoMA’s restaurant. This is the only place you can find Sixpoint’s Dr. Klankenstein, their new and limited stein beer. The Modern carries Sixpoint’s beers on tap exclusively, two of which we had last night. First was the Dr. Klankenstein. No one was terribly impressed initially. But then something interesting happened. As it warmed up, it got better and better, eventually excellent. For the third round, when we came back to this beer, Joel and I each kept ours warming between our hands, probably for about 20 minutes. Perfect. The Modern is serving this way too cold. And this fact was confirmed in a response from Sixpoint themselves, via twitter. It’s becoming more and more common that the quickest way to get a hold of people is via twitter. Their response was, “was meant to be served as a cask beer…. the coldness and carbonation ruins the beer…” Ah hah. I’d love to try this one on cask. I highly recommend anyone in NYC get over to The Modern to try this one before it runs out, even at $9/pint. But absolutely let it warm up.
The second beer we tried was Sixpoint’s Red Tuft Ale, an ESB. Even warmed up, it was unfortunately nothing special. Can’t win ‘em all.
This is something I’ve been getting more and more into. It’s amazing how well beer and food can compliment each other. I’ve so far been using the decent Beer Cloud iPhone app, which has a sommelier section. Could be organized better, but it works. Christina and I had two great pairings recently.
Last Friday we got pizza from the uber famous Di Fara, widely thought to be the best pizza in NYC. It was in fact damn good. We got it with porcini mushrooms. Beer Cloud suggested IPAs with pizza. Right up my alley. I chose one of my favorites, the Bear Republic Racer 5. They really did go perfectly together.
On Saturday we got some smoked bluefish at the Grand Army Plaza Farmers Market. Christina decided to make sandwiches out of it, with lettuce, tomato (I think), and this fantastic sauce she made. Beer Cloud had smoked trout listed, but not bluefish. I figured it was close enough. Picked another of my favorites, the Weihenstephaner Vitus. Another perfect pairing.
The beginning of the month was my birthday. Before the surprise dinner my wonderful girlfriend Christina arranged, she and I went for drinks at one of my favorite beer bars, Rattle N Hum.
First beer I had was the Cigar City Jai Alai IPA. Fantastic. A lot more bitter than a lot of IPAs, but beautifully so. None of the sweetness. I wasn’t expecting it, but ended up loving it. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more.
Second beer was the Great Divide Titan IPA. I also really liked this one, which was on the sweeter side. Great Divide is an interesting brewery. The first time I had their Hercules Double IPA on tap, I also loved it, but not so much from the bottle. I’ll have to see if the same holds true for the Titan.
Great start for my new year.