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Closing Out Our Book Tour

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but this weekend will mark the last event in our book tour, at least for a while. And fittingly, it’s going to start the same way it began, with a “Books on Tap” discussion moderated by Jeremy Cowan, owner of Shmaltz Brewing.

In February we joined esteemed fellow authors John Holl and Joshua M. Bernstein at The Strand Bookstore in Manhattan for a “Books on Tap” panel event celebrating New York City Beer Week, moderated by Cowan. It was one of the first events we participated in to promote our book, Beer Lover’s New York.

Since then we’ve traveled across New York State, visiting breweries, talking to beer fans, and of course selling books. We retraced our steps from last summer, in a way, visiting many of the same places as we did when we conducted our book research.

You’ve probably noticed it’s been a bit quiet around BeerUnion, and for that we apologize. Along with our book tour there have been a couple of changes in our lives that have taken us away from what we love to do most: write about beer.

So as we close out our book tour, we wanted to thank you for sticking with us as we’ve been juggling all sorts of things behind the scenes. We’re going to be writing a lot more in the weeks and months to come.

And this Sunday, August 3rd, we’ll be up in Clifton Park, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., for Books on Tap at Shmaltz Brewing, talking about beer and beer writing, and sampling some great brews. Tickets are here. Food will come from The Ruck, an awesome craft beer bar in Troy. We hope to see you there!

 

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The NY Beer Guide for Thanksgiving

As you get ready for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here are some New York beers to pick up that will make spending time with family and friends that much more enjoyable.

Ithaca Cold Front – Ithaca’s Fall seasonal combines a Belgian yeast strain with roasted grains for a deep brown color and sweetness that balances the spice character of the yeast. Pair this one with stuffing (particularly if there is sausage in it) or roasted vegetables.

Rockaway ESB – This is a good example of a traditional English style that would be easily accessible for family and friends that you’re introducing to craft beer. The moderate hop bitterness is kept in balance by toasted and toffee malt flavors, making the brew easy to pair with most dishes on a traditional Thanksgiving table.

Ommegang Rare Vos – We suggest bringing large bottles of Rare Vos with you. Champagne-like bottles capture the attention of those who who aren’t familiar with craft beer, and are definitely a crowd pleaser when you pop the cork. Rare Vos has a medium body and considerable carbonation to help keep things light on the palate. The use of orange peel and coriander combined with the Belgian yeast character give a spiciness that should go well with your turkey and sweet potatoes.

Sixpoint Autumnation – Though Sixpoint is a fall seasonal, you’ll still be able to find cans on beer store shelves. The intense resinous hop flavors will keep the hop heads you know happy, and the beer suits the season.

Captain Lawrence Golden Delicious – The Westchester brewery aged its tripel in apple brandy barrels, giving the beer a well rounded fruitiness with sometart apple flavors underneath. Pair this with your deserts especially your pies: apple, pumpkin and pecan.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Crown Heights Immersion

Dutiful readers of this website will know that we live in Crown Heights. And that since we moved here, the beer scene has majorly improved. It’s like the beer gods knew we’d appreciate four great bars within a five minute walking distance of our apartment.

So last weekend, when the Brooklyn Brewery and Brooklyn Based hosted the Crown Heights Immersion, we joined in. Free beer at all of our favorite bars? It was the least we could do to participate.

Here’s how the immersion worked: 500 postcards were available for pickup at two locations. The cards entitled you to a free pour of Brooklyn Brewery beer at participating locations, as well as deals and discounts at non-beer spots around the neighborhood.

We picked up our cards at the Nostrand Avenue Pub, where Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn Pennant Ale were poured.

Next stop was Catfish, which offered Cuvee la Boite and Sorachi Ace. We also enjoyed some biscuits with our beer.

After that we walked over to The Crown Inn for some Radius and Oktoberfest.

Lastly, we ended at Franklin Park with some Post Road Pumpkin Ale. An unofficial start to fall? We hope. Though temperatures this week may indicate otherwise.

My partner in crime with his pumpkin ale. 

Recently we’ve been doing more traveling than ever, so it was fun to spend some time in our ‘hood. It’s nice to remember how much we love where we live.

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Session IPAs

IPAs have been on a tear in the craft beer community for the past few years. Hoppy IPAs can be great summer brews with floral aromas and crisp bitterness. The intense bitterness in IPAs or other hoppy beers is often accompanied by higher alcohol content from using more grain to help balance the beers out. Many breweries have an imperial version and they can be among the most highly touted beers around – think Pliny from Russian River or 120 Minute from Dogfish Head. They can be delicious but also intensely boozy with ABVs in the double digits. A new trend is emerging with breweries looking to highlight the hop character of IPAs without the heavy hitting alcohol levels, creating session IPAs.

One of the most popular is All Day IPA from Founders Brewing in Michigan but local breweries seem to be taking up the call with some of the tastiest beers around. Boat Beer from Carton Brewing in New Jersey (below) was a hit in New York City last year for its bright snappy citrus flavors and a manageable 4.2% alcohol. Barrier Brewing in Oceanside New York keeps their Unimperial IPA to 4% ABV but still gets some intense bitterness in the pint. Brooklyn Brewery is joining in with Scorcher #366, a hoppy pale ale which will be released next week and celebrates the new hop variety #366 and weighs in at 4.5% ABV. 

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Brooklyn’s Dry Irish Stout in Bottles

Brooklyn Brewery’s Dry Irish Stout, normally a draft-only beer served from January through March, will be available to take home in a 12oz bottle format. As the brewery states, the roasty and smooth stout is good pairing for oysters, burgers, and of course corned beef and cabbage. The beer is not only a great example of a local dry stout but also one of the closest things to a winter seasonal since it does not become available until January and is gone by spring.

 

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Beer we got in Chicago

Two weeks ago we took a mini-road trip to Chicago for a wedding. So many people thought we were crazy for driving, but it was actually quite pleasant. We stopped in Cleveland to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along the way.

The Midwest is a great place to go to try new beers. The region is teeming with great brews that never make it to New York City. Because we drove we had the opportunity to bring back beer in the car, and we sure loaded up.

For beer shopping we went to a Binny’s Beverage Depot in the South Loop area of Chicago. We were like kids in a candy store. So many beers! Only so much room to bring them back.

We settled on a mix of old favorites and ones we hadn’t tried. We came home with Bells Two Hearted and Kalamazoo Stout, New Belgium Fat Tire, Half Acre Daisy Cutter,  Revolution Brewing Octoberfest (in cans) and Pipeworks Brewing End of Days.

Next road trip? Michigan or Wisconsin.

What are your favorite beer states?

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Surprise Visit to the Barley Creek Brewing Company

This past weekend we road-tripped up to Binghamton University to see our brother/brother-in-law graduate from college. Can everyone pause for a minute to appreciate the coolness of that sentence? He graduated from college!

Ahem. So on the way back, while driving through Pennsylvania looking for a place to eat dinner, we happened upon the Barley Creek Brewing Company.

We enjoyed a flight of beers, which included a Copper Top Ale, Rescue IPA, Cocoa Porter, and Spring Hop IPL (India Pale Lager). The Spring Hop IPL was our favorite of the bunch with a bright snappy hop character that was quite refreshing. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV the Spring Hop is a great session beer for the summer heat. The Cocoa Porter was dominated by sweetness and cocoa, definitely more appropriate for a cold, damp day. Both the Copper Top and the Rescue were well balance malt forward beers that would be easy to pair with the pub style fare served at the brewery.

A great place to enjoy beer and food while passing through the area.

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Cask Ale to Come to the Henry Street Ale House

One of my favorite places for a pint of good craft beer is the Henry Street Ale House in Brooklyn Heights. For those of you who have never been, the only beer available is draft, and British styles tend to dominate the list. I stopped in this recently and had a Captain Lawrence Brown Ale followed by a Wells Bombardier. While sitting at the bar waiting for Sarah to get off work (she works down the street) I stuck up a conversation with the bartender. After briefly speaking about the Wells the bartender told me that that in an effort to become even more authentic, the ale house would be installing not one but two beer engines to serve cask ale in the next few months.  Unfortunately he did not have an exact date for when they would be installed but it was still exciting to hear that more cask ale will be available in our area.

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The Blind Tiger on a Weekday

Manhattan, NY-

On Tuesday, after a delicious plate of hummus at Hummus Place in the West Village, we decided to head down to the famous Blind Tiger on Bleeker Street. My last experience there taught me to avoid the place during weekends if I wasn’t in the mood for large crowds. It’s nice to see a place serving such good beer and cask beer is popular, but it was too loud and packed for my taste. However, on Tuesday night it was surprisingly relaxed. While it wasn’t empty we were able to grab a table and enjoy our beers in the essentially unlit portion of the bar near the door. My Dick’s Best Bitter satisfied my craving for a bitter and Rich enjoyed his Stone Ruination.

-Giancarlo

 

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