Blog: Urban Brew Fest
The immense popularity of craft beer can not be contained to specialty shops and pubs. Festivals for this heavenly alcoholic beverage are popping up citywide at venues where you would least expect them. One such event went down on Saturday at “Littlefield,” a Brooklyn performance art space used to feature the likes of alternative comedy and indie rock. On this particular weekend however it would house the first annual “Urban Brew Fest.” The LocalBozo.com beer team was in the house for the evening session, which proved that the event’s success was far from “Little.”
With the afternoon session already completed and in the books, we arrived at 5pm for the VIP session that would carry into the evening hours. If you have never been to Littlefield before, it is perhaps best described as a medium sized concert venue that allows patrons to wander around to check out many of the hand painted murals throughout. But on this night it would be beer- not necessarily art appreciation- that we would be after. And since this was the very first Saturday in March, we felt it appropriate to sample some light spring style brews. We made our way over to Ithaca Beer Company’s table who were doling out samples of their much talked about “Apricot Wheat” beer. Far too often beers with fruit flavors will miss the mark, giving the drinker an artificial taste which was pleasantly not the case with Ithaca’s take on fruit ales. From the nose to the first sip, we were treated to a lovely bouquet of freshly picked apricots. It was both extremely easy drinking while being huge on flavor. Just a few steps to the left we found ourselves in IPA country with our friends from Smuttynose. Their “Finest Kind IPA” takes the drinker through many of the typical notes of sipping an IPA, but with a really satisfying and clean finish.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always important to eat while attending beer festivals. It’s simply the only way to keep going and maintain an energy level through many of these tastings. Luckily the folks behind the “Urban Brew Fest” had our best interests at heart by sourcing delicious, local fare for the event. Upon entry into the venue along with a tasting glass, each guest was handed two tickets to be redeemed for two tacos from Oaxaca Taqueria, one of our favorite Mexican joints in the Brooklyn area. Their crew may have been busy trying to serve up all the sauced patrons, but they didn’t break a sweat in doing so. Each taco was authentically street style and was expertly made.
After loading up on some great eats it was beer time from here on out. But of course their would be a detour or two along the way. A bowl of lemons and a collection of highly ornate bottles drew us to the table featuring Crabbie’s and their “Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer.” That title alone made us want to sample this unique beverage. Each hearty pour was accompanied by a large slice of fresh lemon dropped into a light beer, which captured the essence of everything you love about ginger ale (if said ale could get you drunk). Needless to say, we will be bringing a pack of Crabbie’s to our next dinner party as a delicious conversation piece. A short walk back into the main room placed us back at the Shmaltz Brewing Company’s always colorful tables. With so many of their beers representing the Coney Island motif, it would be hard for them not be so bold. There we chatted with their always friendly representatives as we gulped down their easy drinking “Coney Island Pilsner” and strong meets bitter “He’Brew Hop Manna IPA.” The “Hop Manna” has a sweetness that we just can’t put on finger on. It’s so good yet a mystery at the same time.
Our beer tour of Littlefield chugged on as we met up with the team from Bronx Brewery. Having slugged down many a pint of their signature “American Style Pale Ale,” it was time to try their latest creation, the “Bronx Black PA.” This smooth drinking ale has a killer dark chocolate meets tropical fruit flavor that blew us away, causing us to stick around for repeat pours of what will be their next smash success. A few hours and several beer samples later and we were out of gas but donning huge beer mustache smiles. The first annual “Urban Brew Fest” was a prime example of how any venue with the right execution can host a tasting event and make it stand out in a way that is most of all, fun.
- Jay Rubin