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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.



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Hop Fast: 72 Days of Hop Withdrawal

Beerfriend Paul


America loves hops! There is no secret that the popularity of the India Pale Ale is massive. In 2014, IPAs jumped 47% in volume share and 49% in dollar sales, to a total of 21% of volume and market share among all craft beers. Since then, the IPAs popularity has maintained steady growth and today holds a 26% market share among all types of craft beer. If you search IPA on Untappd you come up with 147,932 results. This is a steep contrast to other beer styles like Porter (52,031), Stout (89,862), Brown (36,769), and Lager (29,142). There are currently 10 varieties of IPA in Beer Advocate’s Top 20. The rise of the IPA is unquestionable and it has become the premiere style of craft brewing in America.

People love the IPA so much it’s spawned countless different microstyles: Rye Pale Ale, Black IPA, Session IPA, India Pale Lagers, Belgian IPA, Double IPA, and so on.  In fact, just this May, Beer Advocate said, “It’s Official” that New England IPAs are here to stay. American craft beer drinkers can’t get enough of their hops.


 It certainly feels the Lupulin Threshold Shift has held true since the phrase was coined in 2005. It may not have any scientific backing, but it’s an interesting idea. Is it possible that our palates are becoming accustomed to the hoppy flavor, therefore causing us to crave and become “addicted” to more hops?

In 2013, Slate’s Adrienne So boldly wrote “everyone in the craft beer industry has a problem: We’re so addicted to hops that we don’t even notice them anymore.” This backlash to the hoppy trend in craft beer has also picked up steam in recent years: online debate site the Tylt asked “Have we reached peak IPA?” with 70.6% agreeing that we have; recently called the New England IPA the Anti-IPA due to its hazy appearance and fruit-juice flavor --a steep contrast to the bitter punch in your mouth of early IPAs; and brewers are now naming their IPAs with tongue-in-cheek names poking fun at this trend. Threes Brewing of Brooklyn has several: I Hate Myself, Constant Disappointment, and SFY (Superfuckingyawn). New Jersey’s Magnify Brewing Company named their Double IPA Contractual Obligation.

 I, for one, one am guilty of being one of these “hopheads.” I am a sucker for the new fresh IPAs from breweries like Trillium, Treehouse, and Other Half. I love seeking out new juicy, dank, buzzwordy hop bombs, but I feel I have lost my taste for some of the other beer styles I’ve enjoyed over the years. It’s come to the point where If I choose to buy a porter, sour, or saison, I also find myself grabbing a six pack of IPA to go along with it.

For the next step in my craft beer journey I am taking a step away from the IPAs, hops, and IBUs to try to reconnect with the styles I’ve lost touch with over the last few years. I’ll refresh my palate starting today, Black Friday for our capitalist friends, and stay hop-free until the Super Bowl. For the next 72 days, I will be breaking up with hops. It’s not you, it’s me.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @beerfriendpaul to join me on my #hopfast.*



The beer must be craft beer by the Brewers Association definition.

No beer with the words:

  • India
  • Indian
  • IPA
  • Hoppy 
  • Hopped
  • Hops
  • Dry Hopped
  • Double Dry Hopped

Beers should be under 40 IBUs (A few exceptions to this rule: Imperial Stouts, Barleywines, Strong ales, and Old ales.)

IBUs are not the perfect metric to follow, but I will use them to try to keep to the spirit of the challenge. I will use the beer profiles on Untappd to find the IBUs that aren’t listed on the packaging. If no IBU is information is found I will use my judgement to follow the spirit of the challenge.

*This is ultimately about the exploration of all craft beers and not self-punishment, no matter what Graham and Phil think.

Guest Review: Walmart's Trouble Brewing Sample Pack

Beer Friends

Brother Beer Friend Michael took one for the team and tried out Walmart's dubiously described “craft beer” sample pack . Take a look, sometimes it’s good not to be surprised.

Well they got the slogan right at least: "Here comes Trouble"

A quick note before we begin this journey together: none of these beers smell like anything at all.

After Party Pale Ale: This tastes exactly like you would expect finding a half-finished Coors behind your couch 3 days after your last frat party; only its freshly opened and cold. I would be impressed if I wasn't disgusted.

Cat's Away (IPA): The cat might be away but my taste buds aren’t; they're crying. It's somehow less hoppy than the After Party Pale. I’m not convinced they didn’t label the cans backwards but I'm not willing to open a second can to find out.

Red Flag Amber (ale with honey added): I can tell you what this beer does not taste like; an amber ale with honey. What it does taste like may never be quantified by man. The only possible upside is that it was a palate cleanser. It tastes more like water than the water in the hotel I’m staying in.

'Round Midnight Belgian White: This beer tastes like how I imagine a low-quality Tennessee Truck Stop bathroom floor at midnight tastes.

You can listen to the Happy Hour episode Trouble’s Brewing to hear what The Beer Friends think.

Join the conversation on facebook and twitter; or email us your thoughts.

Review: The Brew Hop 5K + Beer Fest

Beerfriend Paul

The Brew Hop 5K and Beer Festival was a lovely way to enjoy a sunny September afternoon in New York City. This was a unique event that started with a 5 Kilometer race and ended with a craft beer festival. You’d be surprised to find such a scenic escape in the middle of the city on an island that most of us have only driven over. Nestled between Queens and upper Manhattan, it was a quick bus ride over the RFK Bridge to Randall’s Island Park where the beer festival was in a small wooded area which provided a scenic running trail around the island. The finish line emptied into a shady spot where the runners could enjoy some craft brews from New York City, Long Island, and Westchester. 

The Brew Hop tallied fifteen drink vendors and three food trucks. This was a much more intimate setting than we’re used to here in New York City, but a nice break from the larger and more congested beer festivals. This event being New York centric it had a lot of breweries I was familiar with. Though this was not a detraction as many of the breweries brought a lot of beers I had not tried before. It felt like each brewery had something that was different. Some with had new beers they were experimenting with like Third Rail Beer with their new Halcyon Nights. Others like Gun Hill Brewery and Sixpoint brought limited release hoppy lagers. The Bronx Brewery brought Bronx Banner and No Resolutions IPA, two of their fantastic beers that were new to their cans this summer. Even though it was the last weekend of the summer, some like Captain Lawrence were helping usher in the impending fall season with their Autumn Blaze Pumpkin Ale.  

The Brew Hop did a good job of mixing in other activities with beer drinking. In addition to the run to kick it off there were lawn games like Cornhole, KanJam, and live musical performances. More reminiscent of a backyard cookout than a beer festival, The Brew Hop delivered a well-rounded event that gave people more to do than just wait in line to drink. I’ll be looking forward to this event next year, and given that its awhile away, I may even start training to run the 5K. I hope they build on the already great foundation of this first year --good views, great beer, and good times.


Craft Beer...Just Run With It

Beerfriend Paul

The combination of running and craft beer may not seem like a likely one, but it’s becoming more and more common. Despite my incredibly lazy summer free falling out of shape, this unexpected pair has reared its head in my life a few times recently.

In a recent podcast, Dan from Beer Karma NYC extolled the positive power of having a beer after running and while training for ultra-marathons. Not only does a craft brew help you feel better after strenuous exercise like that, but Dan suggested that a beer brewed with better ingredients would have more nutrients for your body than a mass produced light lager. I don't claim to be a scientist –I’ll leave that to Graham– but it feels reasonable to say a beer brewed with better ingredients would be more nutritious.  

The Runner’s World article “8 Reasons for Runners to Drink More Beer” seems to agree with this notion; according to the article, beer can reduce risk of heart disease and increase bone density. It stands that a beer may be better for you post run than previously thought! The past few years has also seen a rise in popularity of the “Beer Mile” though it has been suggested that kind of running and drinking could have detrimental effects on your body. Remember: run before beer, you're in the clear.

This weekend, the first annual Brew Hop 5K + Craft Beer Festival will come to New York City. The unique part of this race, is that after running those 3.1 along the East River, you’re rewarded with a Craft Beer festival at the finish line on Randall’s Island. It’s good for your body, good for local beer, and it’s good for the community as a percentage of the proceeds go to charity. That’s enough motivation for us --The Beer Friends will be heading there this Sunday, September 18th. Will we see you there

Companion: Macro Beer Mudslinging

Beerfriend Paul

This blog goes along with the episode of Beer Friends Happy Hour: Macro Beer and Mudslinging This episode revolves around this viral Budweiser ad that Paul showed Phil for the first time:

This ad that was filmed during the New York City 2015 Beer Week and was the second ad like this from the macro beer company this year.  The first coming during the Super Bowl:

This ad caused plenty of backlash from the craft beer community. Specifically this spectacular article by The Beer Babe that was referenced in this episode.

This infamous Super Bowl ad was also fodder form video spoofs as well. This one by Ninkasi we mentioned in the episode is one of our favorites:

Find more episodes of Beer Friends Happy Hour at

Find Beer Friends Unfiltered episodes at

New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of July 28, 2013


Tuesday, July 30 - Singlecut Brewery Night @ Brazen Head, Brooklyn: It's been less than a year since SingleCut brewery, Queens first brewery in many decades, started pouring delicious craft beer.  You can catch them being featured tonight at the Brazen Head in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.  They'll be pouring three of SingleCut's beers:  Billy 18 Watt IPA, 19-33 Queens Lager  and the Pacific NW Mahogany Ale.  The best part is that they are $5 all the time except between 6 -8 pm.  Then they're $4.

Brazen Head is located at 228 Atlantic Avenue between Court Street and Boerum Place in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Wednesday, July 31 - Full Sail Night @ The Stag's Head, Manhattan:

Head on over to the Stag's Head this Wednesday to check out a nice offering from Oregon's Full Sail Brewery.  Not only are they bringing Bohemian Pils, Chriss Summer Delight, English Pale Ale,IPA, Amber and a dry-hopped cask mystery brew, they will also be bringing David Rodriguez to walk you through it all.  And there will be free snacks at 6.  Everyone loves free snacks.

The Stag's Head is located at 252 East 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.


Wednesday, July 31 - Lagunitas! @ The Blind Tiger Ale House, Manhattan:

What happens when you combine the Blind Tiger Ale House with, well, any brewery ever?  Greatness.  What happens when that brewery is Lagunitas?  You get to drink these amazing beers:

Lagunitas Fusion XVI Lagunitas Sonoma Farmhouse Lagunitas Censored Lagunitas Maximus Lagunitas Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Lagunitas IPA Lagunitas Pils Lagunitas Dogtown Lagunitas Lucky 13

Sounds like you're drinking 9 beers tomorrow.

The Blind Tiger Ale House is located at 281 Bleecker Street between 7th Avenue and Jones Street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.


Thursday, August 1 - Kuhnhenn Tap Takeover @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn:

Kuhnhenn is one of the rarest and hardest-to-find breweries out there.  It is almost impossible to find in the New York metro area.  In fact, it's pretty hard to find unless you live in Detroit, Michigan.  Or unless you are in Park Slope on Thursday in the vicinity of Bierkraft.  They are proudly pouring Kuhnhenn brew through every one of their tap lines.  The beer list is still TBD, however you can be sure that it will be delicious and possibly one of the only times you'll drink it.

So you better drink it.

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Avenue between Union and Berkeley Streets in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of July 21, 2013


Tuesday, July 23 - Wheat Beer Night @ One Mile House, Manhattan: As you probably know the main ingredients in beer are water, grain, hops and yeast - in order of amount - making grain one of the most important elements in a delicious brew.  Grain creates the baseline for what any beer will taste like.  After the grain you can add other things (like hops) to affect the flavor, but it all starts at that mushy, oatmeal-like mixture of water and grain.  Most beer these days are brewed with different kinds of barley but it is easy to fall off the beaten track and find yourself a rye, rice or wheat beer.

The One Mile House will be showcasing the wheat grain by offering you a kings ransom in brew including, but definitely not limited to:  Sixpoint Apollo Wheat, Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin Sumpin, Nebraska Hefe, Allagash White, Barrier Gosilla and Jolly Pumpkin Weizen.

Go get your wheat on.

One Mile House is located at 10 Delancey Street between Bowery and Chrystie Streets in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.


Wednesday, July 24 - Christmas in July! @ The Blind Tiger Ale House, Manhattan:

Christmas in New York is a beautiful time.  Everything is decked out in holiday colors, carols ring everywhere and everyone is filled with holiday cheer.  Usually even the terribleness of winter holds itself off until after Kris Kringle's famous visit.  July is none of these things - hot, humid, hot, sticky, hot and sweaty.  If you are lucky enough to have the summers off then it's actually not so terrible.  If you have to go to work every day, well then, it's hell.

It's time to lift your spirits with a holiday cheer fueled beerfest at the Blind Tiger.  They've saved a whole bunch of holiday styled brew for just this time of year to remind you that the heat and humidity only lasts for so long and when you're mired in the middle of it all you can forget it all with a mixture of beer, AC and more beer.

Here's the list:

Sierra Celebration Brooklyn Chocolate Stout Southern Tier 2Xmas Nogne-O Winter Mikkeller From via To Corsendonk Christmas Scaldis Noel Smuttynose Winter DuPont Avec Les Bons Vieux Ommegang Gnomegang Dieu du Ciel! Solstice d’Hiver Avery Old Jubilation ’11 Dogfish Head Red & White Wandering Star Bert’s Disqualified He’brew Messiah

Happy Holidays.

The Blind Tiger Ale House is located at 281 Bleecker Street between Jones Street and 7th Avenue in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.


Thursday, July 25 - Founders Draft Night @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn:

I still have fond memories of when Founders Brewery hit the NYC market a few years ago.  These fond memories are mostly likely due to the fact that I haven't stopped drinking it since and they've only continued to add new delicious brews to our NYC beer menus.  Hit up Bierkraft in Park Slope this Thursday to experience the Founders classics as well as some new unique offerings that we all might be seeing on draft and in bottles at our local bodegas more and more often.

If that doesn't peak your interested then maybe this will:

2011 Imperial Stout

Doom (bourbon barrel-aged IPA)

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Avenue between Berkeley and Union Streets in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Thursday,  July 25 - Ommegang Comes to Spring Lounge @ The Spring Lounge, Manhattan:

Every year Ommegang throws a massive festival at their castle up in Cooperstown named "Belgian Comes to Cooperstown."  Those of us who have been lucky enough to get up there have memories of food, music, dance and of course Belgian beer.  Inspired by such a wonderful event the folks at the Spring Lounge realized that they could not throw a party at that scale - BUT they can bring a whole bunch of Ommegang brew down to NYC for all of us to enjoy.  To that, we say thank you.

Fleur de Houblon

Biere de Hougomount, Adoration
Duvel Rustica
Barrier Relief
Duvel Single
The Spring Lounge is located at 48 Spring Street on the corner of Mulberry Street in the NoLita neighborhood of Manhattan.


New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of July 7, 2013


Tuesday, July 9 - Beer for Breakfast for Dinner @ The Double Windsor, Brooklyn: It is arguable that there is no better thing than waking up, making some eggs and then downing a few of your favorite craft brews.  Unfortunately, unless you're a teacher currently on summer vacation, drinking during breakfast is usually interfered with by that whole employment thing.  Unless you're willing to put your job in jeopardy then this Tuesday at the Double Windsor is probably your best best for breakfast and beer at the same time.

Do pancakes, coffee, bacon and orang juice sound good for breakfast?  Well, they got that covered:

Kuhnhenn Blueberry Pancake Ale

Founders Breakfast Stout

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock

Against the Grain Citra Ass Down IPA

On top of that, their kitchen will be serving a special breakfast sandwich for the night alongside those nostalgia inducing tiny boxes of your favorite cereal.  Finally, kegs and eggs at an hour that the rest of society finds reasonable.

The Double Windsor is located at 210 Prospect Park West on the northwest corner of 16th Street in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, July 9 - Annual IPA Event @ Spring Lounge, Manhattan:

This time of year, in the hot summer sun with the humidity skyrocketing and sweat plastering everything you wear there is only one thing that comes to mind to beat the heat:  AC? Nah.  Ice cold glass of water: Nope.  Dozens of hop loaded beers on draught?  Oh yea.

Head on over to the Spring Lounge in NoLita for their Annual IPA Event for quite the impressive IPA list.  Check it out:

Draught Line-Up: Founders Devil Dancer, Avery The Maharaja, Peekskill Lower Standard, Green Flash Hop Odyssey Citra, Firestone Walker Wookey Jack, Victory Hop Devil Nitro, Ommegang Barrier Relief, Flying Dog Pumpernickel IPA, Empire IPA, Troegs Nugget Nectar

Bottles & Cans: Evil Twin Femme Fatale Blanc, Brasserie d’Achouffe Houblon Chouffe, Blue Point White IPA, Avery IPA

Hops are nature's air conditioner said somebody once.

The Spring Lounge is located at 48 Spring Street on the southwest corner of Mulberry Street in the NoLita neighborhood of Manhattan.

Thursday, July 11 - Peak Organic "Summer Session" Draft Party @Bierkraft, Brooklyn:

Maine's Peak Organic Brewery has been brewing local-sourced and sustainable ingredient beer since 2005 and we are lucky enough to get to drink all of their offerings this Thursday at Bierkraft.  They'll be celebrating Peak's Summer Session brew - an easy drinking, low ABV summer beer perfect for any hot day where many refreshments are required to keep one cool.  In addition to Summer Session they'll also be pouring many of Peak's other offerings:

Weisse Principal Espresso Amber Pomegranate Wheat Hop Noir Black IPA IPA Pale Ale Nut Brown

Wait on ordering the Espresso Amber until your body becomes more acclimated to the AC.

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Avenue between Union and Berkeley Streets in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Thursday, July 11 - Peekskill Brewery Night @ Alewife NYC, Queens:

As a native New York Upstater I love hearing about a new brewery successfully marketing their beer all over the state - especially when it shows up down here in NYC.  Peekskill Brewery is doing just that.  Located on the picturesque Peekskill bay on the Hudson River it represents the true essence of NYS brewing.  Alewife NYC will be throwing a huge bash in their honor and having been one of the first New York bars to pour Peekskill brews from the outset they have earned the right.  Brewmaster Jeff O'Neill and his brew crew will be on hand to walk you through an intriguing, delicious sounding menu:

Midnight Toker – Black IPA

Shotgun Willy – Rye IPA

Higher Standard –  Triple IPA

Eastern Standard – IPA

Lower Standard – Half-IPA.

Amazeballs – Single Hop American Pale Ale

New Wagon – Strong Ale

Simple Sour – Sour Ale

Hop Common – Unfiltered Amber

Skills Pils – Pilsner

Share The Rainbow – Belgian-Style White Beer

If this doesn't convince you to head to Queens Thursday then maybe this in-depth description of each brew will - it definitely worked on me.

Alewife NYC is located at 5-14 51st Avenue between 5th Street and Vernon Boulevard in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens.

Tis the Season for "Best Summer Beer Lists"


It's happening all over the place these days - everyone is weighing in on their favorite summer beers.  I don't just mean you, me and all of our favorite craft beer bartenders but rather some of the more popular online and print magazines and newsletters have jumped on the craft beer bandwagon. As a craft beer enthusiast (READ: nerd with a slight drinking problem) it always intrigues me how these lists are seemingly created.  Sometimes the lists are for the masses - widely known beers that everyone can relate to (even the ice cold blue mountain drinkers), sometimes they include some bonafide craft brews but try to include brews from every state/region and end up containing a lot of filler brews that no one can either find or would drink during the hot months of the summer and other times the list is one of beer snobitude - impossible to find, extra expensive and rarely very palatable for the type of summer drinking we all like to partake in.

And sometimes, these popular media outlets hit it right on the head.  Enter Esquire Online Newsletter's "Best Beers for Summer 2013."  Despite Esquire's know-how when it comes to cooking up the most delicious man-food ever and their top of the line fiction/non-fiction writing staff I was wary that their summer beer list would be more on par with their men's style section - snobby, expensive and mainstream.  I was definitely proven wrong.

Although they definitely make a point to include beer from a variety of regions and definitely include some more mainstream breweries/beers the choices are a mixture of unique and intriguing (Cigar City Guava Grove and New Belgium Rolle Bolle), delightfully surprising and slightly rare (Brooklyn Blast and Deschutes River Ale - can't get it in NY) and as for the obvious choices - obviously delicious enough to be on any craft beer enthusiasts summer list (Victory Golden Monkey, Bell's Oberon and Avery Joe's Premium American Pilsner).

The descriptions of each beer are fun to read and the food pairings will make your mouth water.  Check it out here, this one gets the Beer Friend's stamp of approval:

Esquire's Best Beers for Summer 2013

Other Lists for You Craft Beer Masses to Enjoy and Judge Accordingly:

Thrillist's Massive 150 Summer Beer List

Totally Liberal Huffington Post Summer Beer List

Men's Health "We Pretty Obviously Googled "Summer Beer" and Made a List After Throwing In a Cider" Summer Beer List

New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of June 16, 2013


Tuesday, June 18 - Tuesday Night Tasting: Avery Brewery @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn: Avery Brewing is one of Colorado's most famous brewery's and with roots in the early 90's, one of the earliest.  From the very start they stepped away from the rest of the pack by amping up the hops and malts in even the most normal of their brews and becoming world renowned for their monstrous big beer series. Jen Dickey of Avery Brewing will be on hand to walk you through what is sure to be an intense beer journey.

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Avenue between Berkeley and Union Streets in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, June 18 - Allagash Night @Rattle n' Hum, Manhattan:

Last year this Beer Friend would have labeled Allagash as his favorite brewery of the year.  This year: the love hasn't faded a bit.  They'll be pouring 10 lines of their best American-Belgian brew.




Bourbon Black


Victor Ale

Victoria Ale




Rattle n' Hum is located at 14 East 33rd Street between 5th and Madison Avenues in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan.


 Wednesday, June 19 - Smuttynose Night @ Beer Authority, Manhattan:

The Great State of New Hampshire is great for many reasons, it's beer being near the top of the list.  The best New Hampshire beer?  Well, that's up to you to decide and usually depends on which brewery you live closest to.  If you don't live there, well, then it's probably Smuttynose.  If you do live there, well, it's probably also Smuttynose (or Tuckerman's, love Tuckerman's).  Either way, you should probably head on over to Beer Authority this Wednesday for the event.  Smutty will be taking over 10 tap lines.  That's more than enough reason to get me over to that part of town.

Beer Authority is located at 300 West 40th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan.


Thursday, June 20 - Meet the Brewer: Schlafly @ The Iron Monkey, Jersey City:

There are many states that are fiercely proud of their brewery reputation.  State's like Colorado,  Oregon, Colorado boast hundreds of breweries.  Then there are the states that comparatively have very few.  Good thing for us quality and quantity are not usually related.  Missouri, a state you wouldn't normally connect to craft beer is home to Schlafly.  Tom Schlafly, namesake and co-owner will be at the Iron Monkey in Jersey City on Thursday to explain why quality always trumps quantity.  Here's the list:

Reserve Bourbon Barrel - Aged Imperial Stout

Belgian Golden Ale


Dunkel IPA

Export IPA

Dry Hopped APA

And a small selection of Schlafly Bottles.  Just a note - anything in their Reserve section is a must have.  So have it.

The Iron Monkey is located at 99 Greene Street between Montgomery and York Street in Jersey City, New Jersey.