NYC Brewers Guild Founders Bash

Last night we attended the Founder’s Bash for the New York City Brewers Guild (NYCBG), held at the Brooklyn Brewery. This is an exciting time for craft beer in New York City – the Guild is the first of its kind in New York, because, as Steve Hindy (Brooklyn Brewery co-founder and president) pointed out, only now are there enough breweries in the city to have a guild.

The Brooklyn Brewery, The Bronx Brewery, Chelsea Brewing Company, Eataly Birreria, Harlem Brewing Co., Kelso of Brooklyn, Heartland Brewery, Rockaway Brewing Company, Shmaltz Brewing Company, and 508 Gastrobrewery are the 11 members of the Guild (we previously reported 10. Rockaway signed on after).

“This is a great night to celebrate” Hindy said.

The night, however, wasn’t without seriousness. Hindy mentioned that the point of the recently-revoked tax exemption was to promote brewing in New York State, and that without it, the Brooklyn Brewery will have to pay $600,000 a year in taxes.

The Guild will take over control of New York City Beer week, started in 2008 by Josh Schnaffer. Previously held in September, next year it will be from February 22 to March 3, 2013.

“It’s a vital community that we have here in New York City,” Schnaffer said, handing over the craft beer week tap handle to Jeremy Cowan, proprietor of Schmaltz Brewing, who is also heading the Guild.

“It’s a real treat that this is what New York City beer has become,” Cowan said.

There were a lot of great beers at this event, including some old favorites and new standouts. We of course revisited the delicious variations of the Bronx Brewery Pale Ale (draught, cask, and barrel aged).

The breweries really showed off their talent with sours and saisons. 508 Gastrobrewery brought its new Greenwich Geuze, a revelation for what a truly fresh geuze can taste like (for those of us who have not been to Belgium). It had all the bright tartness that we love in a geuze but the yeast character was more pronounced.

Brooklyn Brewery impressed us with the palate-cleansing tartness of Cuvee de la Crochet Rouge Riesling (a sour version of the Local 1 aged in Riesling lees) and the complex 175th Anniversary Carnegie Porter Brooklyn Collaboration.

The Gaia Saison from Eataly Birreria on cask paired well with their prosciutto sandwich. It didn’t have the strong carbonation or spice of most saisons but had a great smoothness that we hadn’t experienced in a saison before.

“This is the best time for craft beer in New York City,” said Cowan. “But it’s going to get a whole lot better.”

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