Pictures of The Edible Oktoberfest

This past Wednesday (10/7) The Brooklyn Brewery hosted The Edible Oktoberfest Feast in their tasting room. Three hours of all you can eat and drink. There was so much good food and great Brooklyn Brewery beer flowing. Within the first hour I was already stuffed.

Brooklyn Brewery Tasting Room

The meal started off with pierogies made by Casey Barber, author of Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food. 

Casey Barber serving up her delicious pierogies as guest entered the tasting room.

Over near the taps on the bar was a plate full of pickles and black forest ham. Perfect for a quick bite right after ordering a beer.

Can’t go wrong with a pickle on a stick.

Astor Center’s Executive Chef Emily Petersen cooked up a lovely assortment of Bavarian dishes for the evening. Every table was full of German potato salad with bacon, sauerkraut with apples, cucumber salad, radishes with salt, and plenty of bread and butter.

My seat for the evening

For the main course, Chef Petersen grilled up an assortment of four different kinds of wurst: Weisswurst, Bratwurst, Bockwurst, and Baurenwurst. The accompany the meats, there were three different types of mustard.

So much sausage!

A lovely sight

For dessert the guest were treated to a delicious apple and cranberry strudel with vanilla sauce. A perfect dessert that wasn’t too heavy after eating all that meat and potatoes.

The vanilla sauce on top was so good

I had a wonderful time at this event. One can never go wrong with all you can eat and drink for $45. Cheers!

Good crowd. Good times!

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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

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

Book Review: Brewing Element Series

Since beginning my studies towards a Certified Cicerone Certification, I have read numerous books on beer. So I thought I would share some of the books that I think others could benefit from, and enjoy, reading. First up is a collection of four books covering the four basic elements of beer (water, yeast, malt, and hops) called the Brewing Element Series.

Included in this series is Water written by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski, Yeast written by Chris White with Jamil Zainasheff, Malt written by John Mallet, and For the Love of Hops written by Stan Hieronymus. These four books are packed with history, biology, chemistry, brewing techniques, and helpful information for brewers of all experiences.

Let us start with the most basic, yet the most complex, component of beer: the water. Beer is composed of nearly 90% water, so one can easily argue this is the most important ingredient to get right. Water has helped define regional styles of beer since the mineral make up of water varies greatly around the world. Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers dives deep into the world of brewer’s water, and I would have to say that this book is the most complex book out of the four. Authors John Palmer and Colin Kaminski do not shy away from the advanced chemistry aspects of brewing water. Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfates, Phosphates, Sodium, Potassium, Mercury, Fluoride, Lead, Iron, and numerous other chemical elements are discussed in great detail in how they affect brewing water. Alkalinity, and how to control it, plays a huge role in this book. There is a large section to help brewers adjust their water to accommodate various styles of beer. While this book does contain its share of advance chemistry equations and highly detailed graphs of water composition down to the parts per millionth, the beginner brewer can still learn a lot from this book. There is a lot of good information about where water comes from, how to read water reports, how to fix brewing issues, and how to dispose of waste water. While a lot of the AP chemistry went right over my head, I still found this book to be very informative.

The role of yeast in beer was not fully understood until the mid-1800’s when Louis Pasteur established that yeast was a living organism. The German beer purity law of 1516, the Reinheitsgebot, only included three ingredients of beer: water, malts, and hops. Fermentation was just considered an “Act of God”. It was not until after Pasteur’s discovery that yeast was added to the Reinheitsgebot in the 19th century. Nowadays everyone knows the importance yeast plays in creating and flavoring beer. Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation, by Chris White with Jamil Zainasheff, fully understands this importance and go into great detail how this living organism creates the liquid we love. The book starts off with a biochemistry break down of the yeast cell: its structure, genetics, metabolism, and life cycle. This is followed up on how yeast produces esters, fusel alcohol, diacetyl, sulfuric and phenolic compounds, and organic acids. There is a ton of information on how to choose the correct yeast for a particular style of beer and how to properly ferment that yeast to get the best results. Want to cultivate your own yeast? A huge part of this book is dedicated to the cultivation, proper handling, and storage of yeast. For the advanced brewer looking to open a their own brewery, there is information of how to build an entire yeast culture laboratory. This is a great book for anyone fascinated by this tiny fungus.

“No Barley, No Beer” as the old saying goes. Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse changes that old phrase to “Know Malt, Know Beer”. Author John Mallet makes the world of malts very fascinating. He starts off with the story of Harry Harlan, to whom he refers to as the “Indiana Jones” of barley. Harlan was instrumental in the documentation of the origin and genetics of barley grown all over the world. He traveled extensively to study the grain and amassed an extensive library of samples that numbered well over 5,000. From here Mallet discusses the history of malt and the various processes to convert barley into malt. The reader gets to take a tour of a malt house and learn about how specialty malts are made. The book contains an extensive section of the various malt families and how each one will affect a beer’s flavor. Malt chemistry and barley biology both have dedicated chapters. There is information about proper malt handling, milling, and storage. As well as a full list of malts that are commercially available in the United States. Overall an informative book for anyone interested in beer.

My favorite part of beer will always be the hops. As a dedicated Hop Head I found For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness, and the Culture of Hops, written by Stan Hieronymous, to be an extremely informative book that has increased my knowledge of this plant. Hieronymus discusses all aspects of the hop plant. He starts off with the history of the plant and how it came to replace gruit (an herb mixture used for bittering and flavoring beer) as a main ingredient in beer. From there he discuss the biology of hops and how the chemical compounds contained within causes various aromas. I now respect 4-mercapto-4-methylpentan-2-one. Also how Alpha acids in hops contribute to bitterness in beer. There are chapters on how to grow and harvest hops. This is followed by an extensive list of hop varieties and their characteristics. Hieronymus discusses how Alpha Acids become Iso-Alpha Acids in the brew house and the chemistry behind that change. Information on dry hopping leads to how various methods of dry hopping affect the aroma of the beer. The books also teaches how to spot damaged and spoiled hops. It ends with a nice section of the hop bills for many famous name brand craft beers. This is wonderful book for any hardcore Hop Head.

In conclusion I highly recommend this series of books to anyone who really wants to learn all the ins and outs of what goes into beer. Yes some of the advance chemistry and biology might be a bit too much information, but all of the authors do great jobs in summarizing it up for the layman. And in the end, knowledge is power.

Cheers!

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: Hill Farmstead Dorothy Pale Ale

Located in the city of Greensboro, Hill Farmstead Brewery is one of Vermont’s (and America’s) most famous breweries. Having only been around for about 5 years, they have been named best brewery in the world in 2013 and 2014 by Ratebeer.com. Their beers are highly sought after with bottles only being sold at the brewery. Fortunately, kegs of Hill Farmstead beer having been coming to New York City recently with some regularity. Also fortunately, I have friends who do make it up to the brewery to buy cases of their delicious beer.

Up for today’s review is Hill Farmstead’s Dorothy Dry-Hopped Pale Ale. First introduced in 2010, the recipe for this beer has changed over the years. The 2015 version is an ale brewed with wheat, fermented with Brettanomyces, and hopped with Citra.

This pale ale weighs in at 7% ABV.

Appearance: Light Yellow. Hazy.

Aroma: Lemon citrus from the Citra dry hopping, Slightly vinous, a bit of funk from the brett.

Taste: Bright farmhouse ale flavors, fruity, a little funky, grassy, very nice dry finish. Citra hops not coming through much, but adds a nice backbone.

Mouthfeel: Light Medium body

Overall: A nice farmhouse brett style ale

4.2/5

I’ll be reviewing a bottle of their Anna saison very soon.

Until then – Cheers!!