Events — 26 February 2015
NYC Brewers Choice, the Crown Jewel of NYCBW

Blog: NYC Brewers Choice 2015

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Beermakers and beer lovers assembled in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn Tuesday night for one of the most anticipated events of New York City Beer Week. The Fifth Annual NYC Brewer’s Choice emanated from the spacious Sanders Studios, a venue well-equipped to showcase more than thirty-five different beers, presented by the brewers themselves. With many of the beers on site brewed specifically with New York state grains, there was an overwhelming community feel to the nearly four hour affair.

Eager to shed our winter coats, we made a quick stop at the coat check line, grabbed our tasting glass and a bottle of Invo coconut water (hydration is important!), and began to make our way around the sprawling space. We managed to wet our proverbial whistles with stops at Riverhead, Long Island brewery Moustache Brewing Co. and then at Owego’s The Farmhouse Brewery, where their malty-caramel and raisin infused “Barn Burner” proved to be the perfect Belgian-style dubbel to get us off and tasting for the evening.

At this point the appetizing aroma of food being served was calling us into the other room. It was here that we stumbled onto even more breweries pouring tasty suds and a full three-piece band performing live music which played amid the backdrop of all the hoopla going on around us. Coupled with the glorious smells coming from Taco Santo‘s table- there was also a fairly lengthy line which allowed us to seek out some other options to appease our impending hunger. We grabbed some freshly shucked oysters and hot sauces from Blue Island Oyster before devouring some “Mini-Chicken and Vegetable Tacos” from East Village haunt Jimmy’s No. 43 before resuming upon our evening of imbibing.

Seasonal winter brews from the likes of White Birch Brewing (“Birchwood Smoked Stout”), Vermont’s Prohibition Pig (“Vanilla Bean Porter”), and Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. (“Motley Brew”) were each noteworthy tastings- but again, we paused to indulge our hunger once more. The West Village‘s premiere craft beer bar, Blind Tiger Ale House was doling out healthy portions of “Jambalaya” loaded with succulent shrimp, sausage and plenty of spice. Rich samples of Consider Bardwell Farm’s  “Rupert” cheese helped to cool down some of the fire in our mouths with a raw cow alpine that had been masterfully aged for almost 2 years. There aren’t many things that are paired better with beer than cheese, and it’s a stop that we’re certainly glad we made.

Part of what makes NYC Brewer’s Choice such a fun and interactive experience is the ability to chat with the beermakers themselves. With that in mind, we caught up with the team from Binghamton’s Galaxy Brewing Company who had two brews available: “Andromeda” (a very hoppy IPA with strong citrus flavors) and “NY Attitude” (made from 100% ingredients from New York State). Though the majority of their brews are named with galaxy themes in mind, we agreed that it only made sense to have one dedicated to New York- considering that New York feels like the center of the Universe.

Though we can’t deny Manhattan is where it’s at, it was nice to see some other boroughs represented as well. We spent some time chatting with our friends at The Bronx Brewery, where we already know to expect greatness. Brewmaster Damian Brown’s “Bronx Tequila Aged Pale Ale” is a relative new release and it did not disappoint. We were similarly impressed by Bridge and Tunnel Brewery of Queens where we sampled their “NY Smash Bound by Chains Double IPA” and a beer called “20 Spot and a Switchblade Coffee Cream Ale,” which may have been our favorite of the entire night. Brewed specifically for The Queens Kickshaw, the cloudy brownish-amber beer had a nice coffee nose and a rich long finish.

After picking on some “Chicharrones in Jalapeno Salsa” and slugging some beers from Peekskill Brewery, it became painfully obvious that we would not be able to try every single beer offered at NYC Brewer’s Choice- despite there being so many highlights. We’d be remiss not to mention the likes of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Rockaway Brewing Company, KelSo Beer Co., Port Jeff Brewing Company and New Jersey’s Carton Brewing whose “Gilded Lily Trupfle,” laden with white truffle flavors, really made it a brew doused in luxury. Before packing it in, we made sure to hit Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse‘s table where we nibbled on some amazing rosemary bread, sausage, and our personal favorite, chopped liver before heading out for home.

Ending our evening with a celebratory drink from Nine Pin, we raised our NYC Beer Week glasses up high for sips of their “Signature Blend” cider, a perfect ending if you ask us- and one where we may have even asked for a second helping. New York City Beer Week rolls on all around town but NYC Brewer’s Choice has become amongst the most highly anticipated and well attended events of the entire schedule. It’s a shame we’ll have to wait another year to experience it all over again.

- Jackie Benavides

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