Beer For Beasts Recap

Beer For Beasts was this past Saturday. It was dubbed as a celebration of beer, food and people, for a good cause. It certainly lived up to expectations and then some. Beers 4 beasts was the first event organized by Beer Advocate in New York. As such, you were expecting a stellar event from a collaboration between them, Sixpoint and the Humane Society of New York, the benefactor of the night’s proceeds.

“We’ve hosted over 30 beer fests, but Beer for Beasts has already become close to our hearts. We’re excited to be working with our friends at Sixpoint to celebrate our passion for good beer, food, people, and our love for animals,” said BeerAdvocate founder Todd Alström.

I arrived at the Bell House in Brooklyn about 20 minutes before the start of the event. At 6pm I was promptly allowed in and on to the festivities. The main room had a bunch of different beers on tap. The front bar had another ten or so. The food was set up outside the front bar. It seemed like a good idea at first, but as the night went on, it just turned into a long mess of people that were drunk and hungry. Never a recipe for success and honestly, the only bad part about the event.

There were approximately 20 different beers on tap for the event, many brewed exclusively for Beer for Beasts. (Check out the full list here) Many of these beers were collaborative brews, made with other members of the community at Sixpoint’s facility. There was a beer made with corn, chilies and cumin, made especially to pair with the Calexico food cart, El Gordo Borracho. There was an American Double IPA made with 10 different types of hop strains, the Decadence. One of my favorites of the evening between Village Voice food critic and a Sixpoint staff member called Trip Hop brewed with reduced grapefruit juice, Citra, Cascade and Warrior hops. It was fantastic. There was the Baltic Porter made with Stevie Caldarola and Lee Williams fermented with Irish Ale yeast and smoked over beechwood fire.

The Big DIPA an IPA made with Horizon and dry hopped Simcoe hops. That was my favorite of the evening. One of the big hits of the evening was the Knockout Punch, a Hawaiian Red Ale made with Hawaiian punch and Simcoe hops. There were many other great collaborations and one off beers. They also featured some of their standards, the Sweet Action, Righteous Rye, Crisp and Bengali Tiger. Of the 39 beers I counted available on the evening, I missed 3, one of which was the Sweet Action. I tried to sample the beers I’ve never had before and then worked my way back to the standard stuff.

Despite the problems with the food in the evening, I managed to get some early enough that I sampled everything. Food was good, personal favorite was Calexico food cart, I sampled some delicious chicken tacos and paired with their beer and the Crisp Pils. They even asked me why I didn’t bring my dog, since they see me there all the time with the pup at their cart in Soho. “How can you not bring your dog to an event called Beer For Beasts?”

Pizza Moto had some tasty pizza, pretty sweet sauce with thin toasted crust. Prime Meats had some fantastic roast beef on a toasted bun with a mustard topping. Brooklyn Soda Works provided a nice alternative to the beer, with a great ginger lemon soda. There was also a Burlesque show from the group known as Jersey Fresh, which to be quite honest, was a first at a beer fest, but kinda really cool.

All in all, a great event, benefiting a great cause, The Humane Society of New York. Well done Beer Advocate, Sixpoint, Bell House and the Humane Society. Hope this is the first of many Beer Advocate beer fests in NY.

Listening Pile:
LCD Soundsystem – You Wanted A Hit
Two reasons for this song. 1. The event was a hit. Great times, great cause, great people. 2. LCD is playing their final show this weekend at MSG and I’m sure that will be a hit too. Enjoy!

Get Real NY A Recap

Getting Real
Get RealNY was so much fun. I had a goal in mind to try every beer. Of course, as the day went on and I kept drinking, it just didn’t happen. I blame two things for this, one the food, which there was far more of, ended up getting eaten by me and consuming beer drinking time. Second, I savored more beers this time instead of taking a quick sip or two and then tossing. The quality of the beers was just too good to take a sip or two.

I don’t know if anyone else felt the way I did, but I had been super-excited for this event all week. Friday felt like Christmas Eve to me and Get Real was my Christmas present. I left the Upper East Side at about 3pm with one goal. Get Real! I could not wait to try all those wonderful beers, to eat all that amazing food and to see a bunch of good friends. They actually did a pretty good job with the tickets this year. I arrived at about 3:40 to a fairly long line, I would say about 80-100 people. All had VIP passes. The staff went and checked everyone’s ticket to make sure they had a VIP pass, then gave you a stamp, then a wristband. So, at 4pm they just started letting everyone in. There was almost no wait, only when they were checking id’s.

Favorites of the day were Pretty Things Fluffy White Rabbits, Southern Tier’s 2XIPA, Great Divide’s Oak Yeti Imperial Stout, Dogfish’s 75 Minute IPA, Clown Shoes’ Hoppy Feet, Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla and Kelso’s Simcoe IPA. I tried to do IPA’s and Saison’s earlier and Stouts and Porters later on. Felt that would help keep the palate a little more fresh. I drank a lot of water, but not nearly enough. I was pretty hammered towards the end of the evening. And I certainly did not get to try a few beers I really wanted to. Time just ran out. There were only a couple beers I did not like, two specifically the Southport Cherry Stout and Great Divide Belgica. But others loved them, so it’s just a preference. I really can’t do fruit flavored beer and the Belgica, just didn’t do it for me, which is a rarity with their brews or the style.

I wish I tried a few more homebrews. NYCHG(Dylan Mabin) Storzato Imperial IPA, was probably my favorite. Simply Beer’s two offerings, a Sorachi Paterbier and Smoked Pilsner were both excellent. Ten Dudes Salsipliss Saison was also fantastic. Unfortunately, I did not get to try the Bolero Snot stuff, which is always excellent. A couple others just ran out before I could sample.

The food, simply put, was just fantastic. Luke’s Lobster, again had only shrimp rolls. No lobster or crab. Frites and Meats burgers were delicious. Cafe D’Alsace had a wonderful duck pate, and they snuck me some Mikkeller I’m Alive. Murray’s Cheese was awesome. Two things that just go so well together, cheese and fine beer. Great performances had these mini sausages that were delicious. Meze Grill had amazing mini tacos and guacamole. South Houston had this insane peanut bacon brittle, yes I said it peanut bacon brittle. All the food stations paired a beer with their food as well, which was pretty cool. Needless to say, the food was unreal. I wish I could have sampled more, but as with the beers, time and room in my stomach ran out.

No real complaints this time, aside from disappointment in myself for not hydrating enough, getting a little too real(and tipsy) and not tasting more beer or food. For some odd reason, I got stuck on the G’s(as you’ll see below). Also, I’m bummed that I couldn’t get back to fill up a growler on Sunday evening. Also, I totally lost my friends at the end of the night and had to take a cab back up to the UES on my own. Really wish I could have planned a little better on those two fronts.

Here is my full beer list, with homebrews at the bottom. 42 beers had in all, which is actually a couple more than last year’s. Still bummed I missed on about 4-5 beers I really wanted to try that I just never got to.

Ballast Point (CA) Sculpin IPA
Ballast Point (CA) Sea Monster Imperial Stout
Ballast Point (CA) Sextant Coffee Oatmeal Stout
Barrier (NY) Cycle Saison
Barrier (NY) Ruthless Rye IPA
Blue Point (NY) Sour Cherry Imperial Stout
Clown Shoes (MA) Hoppy Feet Black IPA
Dieu Du Ciel (Canada) Péché Mortel (Mortal Sin) Imperial Coffee Stout.
Dogfish Head (DE) 75 Minute IPA
Firestone Walker (CA) Pale 31
Firestone Walker (CA) 100% Oak Fermented Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale
Great Divide (CO) Belgica Belgian-style IPA
Great Divide (CO) Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
Great Divide (CO) Great Divide Oak Yeti Imperial Stout
Green Flash (CA) Double Stout
Green’s (Belgium) Gluten Free Tripel Blond
Green Flash (CA) Le Freak Belgian Style IPA
Green Flash (CA) West Coast IPA
Greenport Harbor (NY) Disorient IPA Dry-hopped with Citra
Greenport Harbor (NY) Belgian IPA Dry-hopped with Tettnanger
Kelso (NY) IPA Double Dry-hopped with Simcoe
Lagunitas (CA) Censored (aka The Kronik)
Left Hand (CO) Good Juju
Left Hand (CO) Stranger Pale Ale
Pretty Things (MA) Fluffy White Rabbits
RCH (England) Old Slug
Riverhorse (NJ) Hop Hazard Dry-Hopped with Citra
Riverhorse (NJ) Oak Aged Bourbon Tripel Horse
Sixpoint (NY) Diesel
Sixpoint (NY) Righteous Rye
Stone (CA) Cali-Belgique Dry-hopped Chinook
Stone (CA) Ruination Dry-hopped with Centennial
Stone (CA) Smoked Porter with Vanilla
Mikkeller (Denmark) It’s Alive

Anthony DiPrimio Leprechaun’s Revenge Smoke Dry Stout
Ten Dudes Salsipliss Saison
Simply Beer Sorachi Paterbier
Simply Beer Smoked Pilsner
NYCHG(Chris Weik) Bull in a China Shoppe Rye IPA
NYCHG(Dylan Mabin) Storzato Imperial IPA
NYC Homebrew Meetup (Matthew Chan) Dann’s Second Bitter
NYCHG & MBAS(Chris Cuzme & Ron Carlson) the Return of the Burnin Yearnin Smoked Porter
Kings County Beer Co. Red Rye

pics by Mike K.(I forgot my camera at home today, duh)

Listening Pile
Bouncing Souls – Who’s Gonna Throw The Toilet
Just because, it ended up being that sorta night in the long run. And it’s a fun song from my favorite Souls album.

Tuesday’s Links

I Want To Drink Your Blood…Themed Beer
After drinking a six pack of Dale’s Pale Ale this weekend, I found my self reading something about the Oskar Blues One Hit Wonder, a limited edition, dry-hopped Imperial IPA, nine percent by volume. It sounds very interesting, bummer it won’t be available in NYC. It got me thinking about another brewery’s recent seasonal canned beers, 21st Amendment’s Monk’s Blood and Bitter American. I think it’s safe to say, most craft beer drinkers don’t really drink a lot of canned beer, unless you’re picking up one of the many Oskar Blues, Sly Fox or New Belgium’s canned selections.

However, Monk’s Blood and Bitter American have been some of the more enjoyable canned beers I’ve had in recent memory. I will even go out on a limb and say that Monk’s Blood, could be one of my favorite canned beers of all time. Part of 21st Amendment’s Insurrection limited series, it’s a dark Belgian-style strong ale made with cinnamon, figs, vanilla bean and candied sugar, while being oak aged. The taste is sweet, but the alcohol and hops aren’t overwhelmed with sweetness. In a strange way, it’s like what you think candied blood would taste like when you were a kid. Once poured into a glass it even has a dark ominous color to it, reminiscent of blood. And of course, the packaging on it is top notch.

The Bitter American session ale is full of hoppy flavors that you would find in an IPA, but hits with a refreshing 4.4% ABV. It’s got a lovely amber color with strong citrus and sweet aromas, they use Golden Promise malt from UK that gives the beer a nice malt complexity without being too sweet or bitter. It’s their late winter seasonal brew, which should only be around through March. It’s a great session ale, that really lets you enjoy the hoppy flavor without the higher abv found in most IPAs. Lets be honest, it’s kinda nice to sip on a couple beers and have it not hit you hard over the head with the ABV. Lastly, I felt like it went really well with a variety of foods, from pizza, to burgers, to roasted chicken. It complimented everything very, very well.

Everybody’s Getting Real On The Weekends
Finally a day I’ve been looking forward to for months. Get Real NY, spring edition is here. There will be over 80 cask conditioned beers to choose from and food samplings from over 20 of NYC’s best restaurants and food trucks, including Café D’Alsace, Mexicue, Fatty Crab, Frites N Meats, Luke’s Lobster and more. I had a blast at the inaugural event in the fall. (You can read my write up here.) Really looking forward to this spring’s version. I got a chance to speak to Patrick from Get Real/Rattle N Hum last week, and he assured me this one will be even better, with more food pairings and more beers, plus custom growlers from Flying Dog, so some of the casked beers can be taken home. Beers I’m looking most forward to are Green Flash’s Le Freak, Two Brother’s Heavy Handed, Defiant Little Thumper, Bruery Saison De Lente, Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA and Pale 31.

Listening Pile:
Beach Fossils – Out In The Way (featuring Jack Tatum from Wild Nothing)
Awesome new ep from Beach Fossils, released last week, called What A Pleasure. It’s a slight departure from the sunny surfy indie pop songs on their debut from last year. This is a little darker and features more synth. Also, this song feature’s another standout from last year’s new albums, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum on vocals. Great song and collaboration. Give it a listen.

Thursday Links

Been meaning to write down my thoughts on this subject for some time. Last week, one of the big beer topics going around the interweb was about the demise of the German beer market, the Brauereisterben (literally, “brewery death”). The basic argument of the Slate article points out that young German consumers have shied away from the traditional German brews featuring the old decree Reinheitsgebot, which stipulated that beer must contain only malted barley, hops, and water. It also speaks about how they’ve embrace international wines, spirits, alco-soda, mixed and energy drinks. So, the old idea that beer shouldn’t change or innovate, a limited palate, plus the introduction of other and cheaper alternatives has left the German brewing industry in a tough spot. Brewing companies have found themselves with rising overhead and dwindling profits, forcing price wars, mergers, consolidation and finally closure. This gets me thinking a lot about the American beer industry. It’s also been in decline, when the best options you have to continue to grow your business is to make lime flavored beer, you might be in trouble. However, we’ve been lucky on this side of the Atlantic, as one of the biggest success stories has been the continued rise of the craft brewery. People are happy to have options, to have many bold and ambitious flavors and styles to choose from. I hope this speaks volumes to the German beer industry about how innovation and options are what people want.

Beer Madness
Here is a great article from the Washington Post about a bracket style beer tournament. 64 entries, doing battle to get to the top beer in all the land. All 64 breweries represented meet the Brewers Association’s exacting standard of “craft.” They’re small, independent, traditional (no corn or rice). Alcohol-wise, the contestants in this year’s Beer Madness run from a 4% abv dark mild to a 12% wood-aged imperial brown ale. It was a blind taste test with a panel of experts including five chosen readers, five professionals: a sommelier, a mixologist, an executive chef, beer store owner and a brewer. It was all done in two sessions via a blind taste test. This is so awesome. I would love to do something like this. Check out the video and fill out your own bracket

Listening Pile:
Lykke Li – I Know Places (Live on the Moon)
Beautiful new video from the Swedish starlet. Dark, haunting, while being incredibly charming and welcoming. Lovely song with a great video. Still haven’t heard her new album, which came out this week, but have really loved 2 or 3 of the few songs I’ve listened to.

Wednesday’s Links

Going Gnome Again.
From BeerNews comes this lovely nugget. Belgian brewery Brasserie d ‘Achouffe dropped by the Brewery Ommegang’s upstate New York home during the summer of 2010 and decided to collaborate on a beer. The new beer, dubbed the Gnomegang(which is an awesome name), came out of multiple small brews and tastings, resulting in a triple hopped Belgian-style strong blonde ale using Chouffe yeast in the primary fermentation and Ommegang yeast in the secondary. These should hopefully start popping up in the area in the next couple weeks. Can’t wait to try this. Cannot wait!

100,000 Homes
I’ve always loved Andrew Zimmern’s tv program on the Travel Channel, Bizarre Foods. The basic premise of it is he travels to exotic locals and then eats very uncommon food. Some of it so bizarre normal people wouldn’t touch. Some just made with exotic ingredients. Last night’s program focused around Zimmern traveling to San Francisco to work with local organizations that offer support to homeless people in the area. Zimmern once homeless himself, did some dumpster diving, as well as exploring alternative methods to find food, like learning how to raise edible bugs and foraging for wild food. He also teamed with Chef Chris Cosentino to do some interesting snout to tail cooking in a food truck.

Travel Channel is also promoting the 100,000 Homes Campaign throughout the new season of Bizarre Food. The 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national effort to find housing for 100,000 homeless individuals across the United States by July of 2013. They are out to prove that homelessness is a solvable problem by connecting communities through collaboration and innovation in developing strategies to house their homeless. Incredible stuff and a cause worth of your attention.

Weapon of Choice
Nice write up from Draft Magazine on what beers goes in what glass. Though the article could have benefited from actually picturing the glass next to the description or actually linking to an image or the glass itself. According to them it’s a Cliff’s Notes version of the essential glassware you should have in your collection. Pretty good stuff and obviously opinions vary. I’ve personally found that people tend to really overcomplicate this issue. I’ve generally thought that the higher the alcohol content, especially over 7% abv the more likely it should go in something with a stem. However, I bought this really great stemless wine tumbler a couple months ago and found it’s great for airy, breathy, hoppy beers. So, go by what this says, or go by what you like. It’s your beer. Of course, I’m also the guy that likes to drink my coffee out of a coffee mug with a Sasquatch that glows when it’s hot.

Listening Pile
Rival Schools – Shot After Shot
Start off by saying so happy to see these old friends back together. It’s been ten years since their self titled debut album came out. Some of these songs were kicking around back then, even before that album. They drop their new album Pedals next week and you can actually check out the full thing at Spinner. The song in the video below, is one of my favorites from the album. But the album is entirity is worth a listen. Check it out.