A Tasting of New York City Beers

My friends Christine and Brian invited me to curate a post-dinner beer tasting at their wedding this past summer. Her family knows a thing or two (a lot) about craft beer, so I decided to introduce them to New York City’s exploding beer scene by keeping the selection local.

I took my assignment seriously, sampling over 60 NYC beers in the month leading up to the wedding. My final selection was designed to represent a range of styles from breweries both big and small, from the ubiquitous Brooklyn Lager, to Transmitter’s farmhouse ales, crafted beneath the Pulaski Bridge in Queens. It was a delicious assortment of bottles, cans, and growlers.

The following descriptions are pieced together from the official brewery copy, Beer Advocate, and myself.

Below that is a list of all NYC brewers as of August, 2015.

1. Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn Lager
American Amber Lager – 5.2% ABV

Brooklyn Brewery’s founders commissioned fourth-generation brewmaster William M. Moeller to develop a recipe for Brooklyn Lager in 1988. Moeller pored over his grandfather’s brewing logs, who had brewed in Brooklyn at the turn of the last century. The result was a lager beer brewed with American Two-row Malts, and a tangy aroma created by “dry-hopping” Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, Vanguard, and Cascade hops. It’s an American take on a Viennese-style lager.

2. Sixpoint Brewing – The Crisp
German Pilsener – 5.4% ABV

Sixpoint was founded in 2004, in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and began canning in 2011. The Crisp has a bright pilsner malt taste up top, followed by the bitterness and taste of an American IPA afterward. Sixpoint’s Sweet Action cream ale is one of their most popular beers (best on draft). If you like double IPAs, the Resin is well-regarded.

3. Transmitter Brewing – F1
Brett Golden Ale / Saison – 6.4% ABV

Dry American Farmhouse Ale with a peach/citrus nose and grapefruit notes. 100% Brettanomyces fermentation with two strains of Brett. Hopped with over 2 lbs of hops per barrel. Transmtter’s Rob Kolb and Anthony Accardi have secured over 20 isolated strains of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus, as well as a brewhouse library of traditional Belgian, French, English and American yeasts.

4. Other Half Brewing Co. – Forever Ever
American IPA – 4.7% ABV

Session IPA with Azacca, Jarrylo, and Mosaic hops. Other Half Brewing Company was founded in 2014 by Samuel Richardson and Matt Monahan, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. They’re well known for their IPAs.

5. Grimm Artisanal Ales – Psychokinesis
American Wild Ale (Sour) – 5.0% ABV

A hoppy, tart American Wild ale fermented with a mixed culture of yeast and lactobacillus and conditioned on American white oak. Dry-hopped with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Jarrylo hops. This beer has never been boiled or filtered. Grimm Artisanal Ales is a Brooklyn-based nomadic brewery founded in 2013 by Joe and Lauren Grimm. The couple develops each recipe in the kitchen of their Gowanus apartment and travels to existing breweries near and far to craft their beers.

6. Barrier Brewing Co. – Rembrandt
American Porter – 7.5% ABV

A straight-forward porter, delicious and smooth. Barrier Brewing is run by Sixpoint veterans Evan Klein and Craig Frymary, just outside the city in Oceanside, Long Island. When the brewery was two years old in 2012, their newly-expanded facility was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The craft beer community rallied in support, and their new, new brewery opened in 2013.

New York City Breweries and Brewers

MANHATTAN
Alphabet City Brewing Company (2012) *
Dyckman Beer Company (2012) *
Harlem Brewing Company (2000) *
Heartland Brewery (1995) ***
Third Rail Beer (2014) *

BROOKLYN
Brooklyn Brewery (1988)**
Coney Island Brewing Company (2007) *
Evil Twin Brewing (2010) *
Greenpoint Beer & Ale Company (2014)
Grimm Artisanal Ales (2013) *
KelSo Beer Co. (2003) ***
Other Half Brewing Company (2013)
Secret Engine (2014) *
Sixpoint Brewing (2004) **
Threes Brewing (2014)

QUEENS
Big Alice Brewing (2013)
Bridge and Tunnel Brewery (2012)
Finback Brewery (2013)
LIC Beer Project (2015)
Queens Brewery (2014)
Rockaway Brewing Company (2012)
SingleCut Beersmiths (2012)
Transmitter Brewing (2013)

BRONX
Bronx Brewery (2011)
Gun Hill Brewing Company (2014)

STATEN ISLAND
Flagship Brewing Company (2014)

NEARBY
Barrier Brewing Co. (Long Island, NY)
Blue Point Brewing Co. (Long Island, NY)
Captain Lawrence (Elmsford, NY)

* NYC-based but brewed elsewhere.
** Brewed in NYC, with expanded production elsewhere.
*** Greenpoint Beerworks in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, is home to KelSo, and brews for Heartland. Upstate NY breweries Empire Brewing Company and Great South Bay Brewery also have some production here.