Monday, 25 April 2011

The Brooklyn Brewery

The beer here in New York is exceptionally good. There has been a real resurgence in craft brewing in the U.S over the last 10 years. When I first visited New York two years ago I was expecting it to be all Budwieser and Coors. I was not expecting what I discovered. Most of the bars and restaurants offer a wide selection of U.S and European craft beers which are well kept and poured. They regrettably put British bars to shame. One of the main protagonists in the craft beer resurgence The Brooklyn Brewery is a short walk from where I am staying and yesterday I visited to go on the brewery tour.

In the UK you can only really get the standard Brooklyn lager but the brewery creates quite a large variety of beers. They do different I.P.A's, pilsners, ales stouts and seasonal brews. They've recently started doing premium beers which have extra yeast added when bottled so they age like wine. They cost about quite a lot for a bottle so I haven't tried one yet.

During the tour I did learn some interesting things but the way they make beer might not make CAMRA purists happy. Apparently most of there beers use hops which come in pellet form. A proper British beer maker would not consider using anything but real hops. Saying that I do find that British beers can taste like dish water and everything I've tasted from Brooklyn Brewery has been delicious.

Another cool fact I learnt on the tour is that the Brooklyn Brewery logo was created by Milton Glaser the same graphic designer who designed the iconic I love NY logo which appears on many T-shirts. When the Brooklyn Brewery guys were starting out they wanted a decent logo and considered Milton Glaser the best. They approached him with a small fraction of his normal fee. Fortunately Milton quite liked the idea of the brewery and offered to design the logo without taking any money. Instead he asked for free beer for the rest of his life. Apparently a legally binding contract which states this exists.

After the tour there's a massive beer hall where you can drink the beer. You get a load of normal non-hipster locals in there ordering take away pizza and playing board games on the large tables. I tried a Brooklyn Blast which is a double strength red beer. Imagine a high quality special brew. I was quite wobbly afterwards.

This is a bottle of Brooklyn's current seasonal brew the summer ale which I have been enjoying while writing this post.

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