2013 was quite a year for the New York beer community. Throughout the city and surrounding area quality beer is on the upswing. Here are ten of the biggest things from 2013:
1. New York’s number of breweries continues to soar at an exciting rate. Each has its own place in the city’s beer community. The latest batch of new breweries includes nomad brewers, nano brewers, contract brewers, and traditional brick and mortar brewers. Here are some that opened in 2013:
Big Alice Brewing
Other Half Brewing
Paulaner Brauhaus & Restaurant NYC
Dykman Beer Co.
Grimm Artisanal Ales
City Island Beer Company
Radiant Pig Craft Beers
Great South Bay – Long Island
Coronado – California
Cigar City (re-entered) – Florida
Oxbow – Maine
Schlafly – Missouri
Shiner – Texas
Bayou Teche – Louisiana
3. New York’s growing thirst for quality beer means that new bars and bottle shops are popping up all over, in established beer neighborhoods and some in areas previously regarded as craft beer deserts. Here are some can’t miss bars and beer shops that opened this year:
Torst – Greenpoint
Glorietta Baldy – Bed-Stuy
The Jeffrey – Upper East Side
Nostrand Avenue Pub – Crown Heights
Hops and Hocks – Bushwick
St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe – Boerum Hill
3. This year the new Farm Brewery Law went into effect, and many New York brewers took advantage. Older brewers like Brown’s Brewery in Troy have joined in but newer and smaller breweries like Good Nature in Hamilton and Hopshire Farm and Brewery in Freeville are leading the charge. New York City brewers have been slower to jump on the bandwagon but Brooklyn Brewery did release its Greenmarket Wheat beer this summer using 70 percent New York State -grown wheat and barley, well above the current 20 percent non-water ingredient requirement that runs through 2018. Between 2018 and 2023 the requirement will rise to 60 percent and then 90 percent thereafter. The requirements have come with concern that the state’s agriculture will not be able to support brewers’ demands for New York State ingredients. Which leads us to number 4…
4. New York State hop farming took off this year. New York State’s hop acreage jumped to around 140 in 2013 and looks to increase dramatically in years to come. For a look at the early stages of the state’s hop industry check out the short film Hopped Upstate. While brewers are very excited about the growing hop supply in New York they are also looking for more local options for malt since hops make up a much smaller portion of a beer’s ingredients than malt in terms of weight.
5. It was a year of change for Shmaltz Brewing and its founder Jeremy Cowan. After much speculation about the location of the new brewery, Shmaltz opened a large new facility in Clifton Park near Albany over the summer. Shortly after the new brewery opened, Shmaltz announced that Alchemy and Science, a subsidiary of Boston Beer Works had acquired its Coney Island line of beers.
6. The Good Beer Seal expanded outside New York City. The Seal, led by Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 expanded its ranks not only within the city limits but also to bars in Jersey City and Long Island.
7. New York benefitted from the Brewer’s Association spreading the wealth by moving Savor from its Washington DC home in 2013 after already holding the Craft Brewers Conference in DC.
8. Under the new management of the New York City Brewers’ Guild, New York Beer Week moved from September to February. The new beer week shifted focus towards more events and less bar crawls as it did in previous years with the elimination of the Craft Beer Week Passport.
9. In 2012 Hurricane Sandy was almost a complete disaster for Barrier Brewing Company in Oceanside Long Island. In 2013 the brewery returned stronger than ever. With support from other brewers Barrier was able to bring its brewery back online and even make some additions like new limited bottle releases and a brand new tap room.
10. On a more light-hearted note, beer lovers in New York and across the country got a kick out of Greg Kelly’s reaction to Gin Barrel Aged Bronx Pale Ale. The local morning news anchor from the Fox network couldn’t contain his distaste for the rare beer that the brewery’s manager Chris Gallant brought on the show. The reaction was worth the chuckle and demonstrated that even high quality beer might not be suited to everyone’s taste.