Monday, October 25, 2010

New York City Craft Beer Week Part 3

Here's the final installment of Pat Fondiller's NYC Beer Week account.  You can almost feel the tired seeping form the screen.

Part #3

Tuesday evening I was back at it with NYC’s Puck Fair hosting Smuttynose as their NYCCBW brewery. I spent the evening with the Union Beer crew headed by Joshua Tussin and Bar Manager Collin and a lot of great Puck Fair patrons. We shared the floor that night with Southern Wine and Spirits and my old friend Dave Rose which made for a particularly spirited evening. Afterwards we all headed around the corner to big Smuttynose supporter’s the Spring Lounge to finish out the evening with Dermott and Jen and company. Needless to say it was another great night.

On Thursday, I was at Mug’s Ale House in Williamsburg where every night and day is Smuttynose night. Eddy and family have been one of Smuttynose’s best allies for years and I wanted to spend a night there paying homage to them. I spent the evening with Jimmy Tillman the white-bearded patron saint of Smuttynose IPA and had a great time with several of the patrons. Afterwards we all wound up at the great Brooklyn beer bar Barcade and then back to my favorite haunt The Gate another couple of places that have given us great support over the years.

The grand finale was a 20 line blow out put up by Rattle n Hum where we shared the 40 tap lines with another great brewery Ballast Point. There were representatives and brewers from all parts of the Craft Beer Industry including Stone, Ballast Point, Two Brothers and more. The lineup included a vintage Wheat Wine and Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, all of the core brand styles and several of the Short Batch Series. The turnout for Smuttynose at this event was enormous and very flattering and the patrons were really excited peppering me with questions about hop varieties and original gravities and the like. Around midnight Stone brewer Jeremy Moynier and Ballast Point brewer Colby Chandler and I snuck out to The Ginger Man to say hello. We shared a beer there and then headed back to Rattle where we closed the joint down and then grabbed a cab home to Brooklyn.

All in all New York City Craft Beer Week was a blast and it was great to experience it from the supply side of things as opposed to the retail side as I had in years past. I am looking very much forward to next year’s week and hope you’ll all be in NYC and come along for the ride!

If you see Pat arou

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New York City Craft Beer Week Part 2

     When Pat last left off, Freaktoberfest, had kicked off the events of the week and Pat was just getting started on along week of beer-vangelism and Dave was getting down to the city to join the revelry.  This section is full of fantastic foods, so if you're hungry, go grab a slice of terrine or some baba ganoosh.

Part 2

     On Saturday, I was joined by Smuttynose Director of Brewing Operations (DoBrO) Dave Yarrington and we made our way over to The Get Real NY cask ale festival put on by Patrick Donagher of Rattle n Hum and Cask Master Alex Hall at NYC’s Altman Building. The scene here was simply amazing as the organizers built a huge rectangular stillage that housed over 80 cask -conditioned ales from all over the world. Food purveyors lining the outside of the room and the festival provided attendees with a chic mini pint glass to sample the beer. 

     The Smuttynose offerings were varied and amazing. There was the Big A IPA, quadruple dry-hopped with Simcoe, Centennial, Santium and Cascade and the elusive Chai Porter. There was a second Porter firkin that had been aged on apple brandy-soaked oak chips in addition to three other single dry-hopped brews; Star Island Single with Sterling, Pumpkin with Liberty and Old Brown Dog with Glacier. Dave was pulled from the crowd to speak to the geeks and we also did a few interviews.

      Next, we were off to Brooklyn to attend a Zagat/Smuttynose Beer dinner at Benchmark Restaurant on 5th Avenue and 2nd Street in Park Slope. Chef Ryan Jaronik prepared a three course meal in a format that I was not used to but found to be very pleasant. Each of the three courses was portioned larger than the norm and we received a full 12 ounce bottle of beer with each course served in large wine glasses.
Course number one was a Ginger-Fried Squid Salad with Papaya, Spicy Cashews, Frisée, Squid Ink Vinaigrette paired with the Star Island Single. The delicate Belgian spiciness of the beer paired well with the appetizer and the beer’s clean finish went quite well with the fried calamari.  The second course was a Duo of Beef: Broiled NY Strip Steak and Big A IPA Braised Short Rib with Horseradish Potato Purée, Boeuf Onions, Mustard Demi-Glace. I found this course to be great with the bold double IPA standing up well to the hearty dish. Finally for desert, a Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Honey Roasted Bananas and Hazelnut Caramel paired with the Smuttynose Robust Porter. This pairing was simply sublime with the best of both the beer and the food coming out and complimenting each other in a way that literally made both better.

     After dinner we sauntered down to Mission Dolores on 4th Avenue, one of the main Smuttynose Craft Beer Week venues, and sampled some Rouge D’Shire, Vunderbar Pilsner and other offerings. We finished the night with a brief pub crawl paying a visit to Pacific Standard, 4th Avenue Pub and High Dive, all craft beer week venues that housed at least one Smuttynose line and then stumbled home to bed.

     Sunday morning Dave and I went back to Get Real, sampled some more brews and food and did another interview or two and then headed over to Meet and greet Union Beer’s Mike Lavullo at the legendary Blind Tiger Ale House. Mike and company were in the midst of a Craft Beer Week pub crawl that he had organized through Manhattan’s East and West Village beer bars. We caught the first half of the Giants game (Dave and I both from Jersey are mutual fans) and then drove up to Tim Reinke and John Sharp’s Birdsall House in Peekskill, NY. This beautiful Westchester County beer bar and restaurant was featuring a dozen or so Smuttynose brews and though the beer dinner that Tim and I had discussed never materialized, it mattered not because the food was fantastic. Holed up for the night we started with a few charcuterie platters featuring fine artisanal cheeses, sausages and pate’s. The first consisted of Pork and fennel sausage with porter and caraway mustard, Brovetto Farms green peppercorn Tilset, chicken terrine wrapped in bacon over mesclun and the second Pork terrine with mustard seed caviar, spicy lamb sausage with red onion jam, and seared bacon lardon with apple butter over mesclun.  After a few hours shooting the breeze with Tim and John and some of their patrons we settled in for dinner. Dave had the Fried Organic Chicken with buttermilk biscuits, southern-style giblet gravy, black-eyed peas, collard greens, glazed carrots and I had the 9-Spice Roasted Pork Loin with sweet potato and cheddar mac-n-cheese, braised brussel sprouts and smoky tomato marmal. All of the food at Birdsall is locally sourced, house made, organic and outstanding. This place is well worth a trip and easy to get to and from via the Metro North railroad out of Grand Central Station in NYC. In the morning Dave headed back to the Shire and I back to Brooklyn for a well earned day off…well from drinking at least.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New York City Craft Beer Week Part 1

Pat Fondiller, our man in the Big Apple has written a three-part account of his experience at New York City Craft Beer Week.  Craft Beer Weeks take place all over the country from hotspots like Philadelphia, San Francisco to areas where craft beer's profile isn't as wide, like Charlotte and St. Louis.  Area grocers, bars, restaurants, breweries and other food and drink centric entities band together to promote craft beer through various events from the commonly seen beer dinners and tastings to more creative events like s Beer Geek of the year contest.

These weeks are pretty intense for our sales reps (you'll be exhausted just reading this).  Pat did an amazing job scheduling, organizing and attending our events.  I'm sure his liver took a few days off afterwards as well.

Here's part 1:

Right off, a very special thank you to all the fans of Smuttynose Brewing Company who came out in support of the brewery at our many events for this year’s New York City Craft Beer Week. NYCCBW ran from September 24th through October 3rd and was the most successful week by far for the organizer’s Josh Schafner and Chris Cuzme. The duo worked out a new format this year, pairing breweries with specific bars and restaurants throughout New York City. They also picked up a few formidable partners in Great, The Brooklyn Brewery and NYC’s Zagat Guide who provided support and made it a great week for all.

Freaktoberfest, Brooklyn’s notorious craft beer, music and burlesque freak show, now in its third year provided the kick-off. Hosted by Jeremy Cowan and Matt Polachek from Shmaltz Brewing Company, Mikey Palms from Southpaw, Ben Granger from Bierkraft and Smuttynose’s own Pat Fondiller, the Festival provided just the punch that NYCCBW needed to get off to a roaring start. This year’s venue, The Rock Shop, the Bowery Ballroom’s latest music spot, provided the perfect setting. The festival featured about 45 breweries and musical performances by bands most of which had one member or more working in the craft beer industry. Downstairs in the club, the opening act WORKOUT! had two members whose “day jobs” are in sales for local distributor S.K.I. and they were followed up by solo act Al Duvall, one of the original members of the Craft Brewers Guild. The third act, Lambic Jones, featured drummer Steve Moses (Alice Donut), jazzer Percy Jones on bass and Ale Street News’ Paul Sullivan on guitar. The trio laid down a blistering set that really blew the roof off the joint. Headliners, Captain Ahab and the Sea Cracken, the only act sans beer folk, were the perfect finishers with their nautical themed surf punk extravaganza.

Upstairs the venue featured an outdoor rooftop deck and held the majority of the beer as well as the performances that Freaktoberfest has become known for. The performance, hosted by Donny Vomit - MC of the World Famous Coney Island Side Show was highlighted by Mr. Vomit penetrating his nose with 30 penny nails and a power drill, then introducing the fabulous burlesque performers Ravi the Scorpion Mystic, Remy Vicious, Legs Malone and Nasty Canasta.

The festival, which has become the official launch party for Shmatlz’ Freaktoberfest, a blood red lager and the party’s namesake, also featured many other specialty brews. The debut of Smuttynose Vunderbar Pils, Lagunitas Fusion III and Victory Village topped the charts of what was a rather fantastic list of fine craft beers.

Part 2:  Things aget really busy when the DoBrO comes to town....