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Upcoming Event: The Edible Oktoberfest (10/7)

Come celebrate the 1810 wedding of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen this Wednesday October 7th at The Brooklyn Brewery with The Edible Oktoberfest! This event will feature dinner by Astor Center’s Executive Chef Emily Petersen and pierogies made by Casey Barber author of Pierogi Love. Brooklyn Brewery will be supplying various beers to pair with the food throughout the night.

Tickets are $45 and available here. Looks like a good time. I’ll be there!

Here’s the menu:

Arrival snack featuring: Platters of rolled, sliced Black Forest Ham, Pickles on Sticks and Pierogi

Dinner served family style:
Bread & Butter
Grilled Weisswurst, Bratwurst, Bockwurst, Baurenwurst
Mustard selection
Radishes & Salt
Sauerkraut with Apples & Onion
German Potato Salad
Cucumber Salad

Dessert: Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce

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Beer Review: Other Half Amarillo

This Summer at Other Half Brewing has been a Summer full of beers focused on single hops. This collection of IPAs has featured such hops as Mosaic, Citra, Nelson, Galaxy, Equinox, and Cascade. Last month Other Half continued this series with a very well known hop from the Yakima Valley: Amarillo.

Other Half Amarillo

The story of the Amarillo hop begins in 1988 when the hop plant was found growing wild in the Toppenish region of the Yakima Valley. This is very unique since most proprietary hops nowadays emerge from breeding programs. These types of hops are known as “landrace” hops since they are found growing naturally in the wild. It was discovered by Darren Gamache of Virgil Gamache Farms when he was still in high school. His father loved the aroma and started growing the hop to give away for free. Soon after though, the demand for Amarillo far exceeded the acres of farmland to grow it. Realizing they could not meet the demand for Amarillo, Virgil Gamache Farms licensed the hop to other farmers to grow. From there Amarillo has become well known for being in numerous “hop bomb” beers. 70% of its essential oil is myrcene which contributes to its floral, tangerine, apricot, and citrus aromas. The flavor is similar to the fruity aroma.

Hops!

Other Half Brewing’s Amarillo IPA is an amazing example of this lovely hop.

Appearance: Orange leaning towards yellow.

Aroma: Very bright Citrus. A little bit floral.

Taste: Citrus with some melon. A very slight bitterness on the end to balance the bright fruitiness out.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, coats the mouth nicely.

Overall: Another great single hop showcasing from Other Half.

Rating: 4.25/5

Other Half’s single hop series has been fantastic so far. I am looking forward to tasting their upcoming Simcoe and El Dorado releases. Until then – Cheers!

Mmmm

(PS – Sorry for the long delay since the last article. September was a busy month. I’ll be back regularly now. Thanks for visiting my site!)

Book Review: Craft Beer In Japan

Beer Club Popeye in Tokyo

When most people think of Japanese beer, three names usually come to mind: Kirin, Sapporo, and Asahi. These three brewers all started around the same time back in the late 1800’s and have been turning out the same light flavored lagers for years. Fizzy, yellow, and bland would be a great description of a lot of these beers. The Japanese phrase “日本人の口にあう” (nihonjin no kuchi ni au) literally translates to “Meet the mouth of Japanese”. This phrase is sometimes used to describe the Japanese palate and why they prefer light beers. Since many dishes in Japan use seasonal and traditional ingredients, brewers didn’t want to make a beer that would overpower the flavor of the food. So most big brand Japanese beers end up being just a palate cleansers. As result of this, Japanese beer has had the same reputation as BMC (Bud, Miller, Coors) beers of the US. That is they don’t get much respect. This is the way it was until 1994, that’s when the brewing laws of Japan changed to allow people to brew smaller batches of beer. In the book Craft Beer in Japan, author Mark Meli dives into the history of Japanese brewing and the rise of “クラフトビール” (kurafuto biiru) in a lager dominating country.

The book starts off with a history of brewing Japan going back to 1853 when Komin Kawamoto first brewed beer, most likely after he first read about the brewing process in Dutch science books. The first Japanese brewery was Spring Valley Brewing, which founded in 1869 and then sold off to Japan Brewery Co. which later turned into Kirin Brewing. Sapporo opened in 1876, which was followed by Osaka Bakushu which opened in 1889 and would later become Asahi. An interesting fact about this period in Japanese brewing is that pale colored lagers were being brewed and sold in Japan only 34 years after Josef Groll first brewed them in Plzen in Bohemia in 1842.
From here we jump to 1994 when brewing laws changed to allow a brewer to produce 60,000 liters of beer, which came down from 2,000,000 liters. This led to the rise of “地ビール” (Ji biiru) which translate to “local beer”. Nearly 400 local breweries opened up in the mid to late ’90s, most producing sub-par beer. This trend of not so great beer continued into the 2000’s. In 2010, a craft revolution occurred in Japan. “Kurafuto Biiru” was now in demand and growing in popularity. Numerous craft beer bars and breweries opened up in Tokyo and throughout Japan. Unlike the “Ji Biiru” breweries of the previous decades, these “Kurafuto” breweries truly cared about the quality of their beer.
The rest of the book is a beer travel guide. Meli discusses nearly every craft brewery in Japan and rates the beers they produce. There are sections on Japanese beer phrases, craft beer festivals around the country, and reviews of numerous craft beer bars and pubs. If you are ever going to travel to Japan, I highly recommend this book. Japan is one of the best beer destinations I have ever been too and I can not wait for my next trip back to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Now here are some pictures from my beer trips to Japan. Cheers!

Craftheads in Shibuya

Craftheads

Beer Club Popeye in Ryogoku

Baird Taproom in Harajuku

Baird Taproom

Devil Craft in Kanda

Devil Craft

Belgium Beer Festival in Roppongi

Belgium Beer Festival

Yebisu Brewery Museum in Ebisu

Yebisu Museum Tap Room

The Griffon in Shibuya

Toshi at The Griffon

Kaze No Tani Beer only available at the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mikata

Kelso Tap Room is Now Open!

A staple of the New York City craft beer scene, Kelso Beer Co. has been brewing beer in Brooklyn since 2006. Opened by brewmaster Kelly Taylor and his wife Sonia, this brewery has been turning out delicious beers such as IPAs, Pilsners, Lagers, and Saisons. The only thing missing from this brewery was a tasting room. Well this week has brought upon the grand opening of their new tasting room right inside the brewery located at 529 Waverly Ave.

I happened to be the very first customer on the official opening day and was greeted by many friendly employees of the brewery. Kelly was behind the bar and poured me my first beer which was Kelso’s White IPA. There are currently six taps featuring both Kelso and Heartland Brewery beers. Kelly is also the brewmaster for Heartland Brewery and helped design and build their brewery facility in Brooklyn back in 2002. The brewery space is now shared by both brands.

The brewery plans on doing growler fills and will also have a fridge for can and bottle sales. The tasting area has a nice long bar and a bunch of tables to accommodate the crowds. A nice space to hold tasting events.

The brewery is very easy to get to from the A/C or G train. I am looking forward to many visits to the Kelso tasting room. It is a great addition to the New York City beer scene.

Cheers!

Beer Review: Other Half Green Diamonds

One of Other Half Brewing’s earliest double IPA offerings back in 2014 was their Green Diamonds. Towards the end of 2014, Other Half teased the beer community with a photo of their prototype Green Diamond cans. It wouldn’t be until a few months later, in February 2015, that the Green Diamond cans were released to the public. Now on their third canning of this beer, I have finally got a chance to write a review for it.

One of the most striking aspect of this beer is the design on the can. Other Half got local NYC designers Small Stuff to create the design. They are also responsible for the amazing design on the Other Half Hop Showers can.

This 9.2% ABV Double IPA is brewed with Australian Galaxy hops which can impart flavors of passion fruit, citrus, melon, and black currant. Other Half doubles down on the fruity hop flavor by adding Amarillo hops. This is all balanced out with Golden Promise malt.

Appearance: Golden Orange

Aroma: Fruity, Citrus, Piney

Taste: The lovely tropical taste of Galaxy hops mixed with Amarillo. Smooth bitterness on the back end with slight astringency.

Mouthfeel: Medium Body. Typical DIPA.

Overall. One of OH’s best beers.

4.5/5

So here’s to drinking more Green Diamonds in the future!

Cheers!

Other Half Equinox and Green Diamonds Cans this Saturday (6/6)

Jury Duty has kept me away from writing up some new beer articles, those will be coming soon. In the meanwhile here’s a quick post about Other Half Brewing‘s newest can release. This Saturday June 6 they are releasing their newest can which is a single hopped IPA called Equinox. And good news for anyone who missed the first two rounds of Green Diamonds Imperial IPA cans, they will also be re-released.

From Other Half’s Facebook:

6/6/15!!! This Saturday. Doors at 10am at the brewery. Green Diamonds: $16 4pack/$90 case. Equinox: $16 4pack/$90 case. One case max of each per person. That means each person can buy a case of each beer. First come, first serve. We would love to do a lower limit but we do not have space to store the beer so it all must sell on Saturday. Over 200 cases of each style will be available. See you soon!

Judging by all the other can releases, get there early if you want some!

Cheers!

Other Half All Green Everything and Hop Showers Cans This Thursday! (5/21)

If you happened to miss out on Other Half’s All Green Everything can release, well you’re in luck because you have another chance this Thursday May 21st to score some cans! In addition to the All Green Everything, Other Half will be canning their delicious Hop Showers IPA.

Great design!

From Other Half’s Facebook account:

“This Thursday!!! 5pm at the brewery! Hop Showers IPA and All Green Everything can release! 2, Four pack max on All Green Everything. 4, four pack limit on Hop Showers. AGE is $20/4 pack. Hop Showers is $16/4 pack. If supplies last, we will continue the sale on Friday at 5pm. We will update inventory as the day progresses so everyone knows how much beer is left. We are unable to sell cans this weekend do to production conflicts and events so that is the reason for the Thursday/Friday release. Cheers!”

I’m looking forward to the Hop Showers! See you all at the release!