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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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Filtering by Tag: Blue Point

Live Blog: Strong Island Event at The Stag's Head

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Craft beer week is in full swing and Beer Friends are hitting up some of the awesome events (we wandered from the Jimmy's 43 Cigar City event - put Maduro Tiramisu on your bucket list, trust us) and enjoying the craft beer abound in the city. Next up: Strong Island at The Stag's Head. Long Island has always been a weird beer destination (see Blue Point) but recently has stepped it up (see: Greenport Harbor and Southhampton) in which the Beer Friends have enjoyed and are going to continue enjoying tonight.

Brad's 1st: Greenport Hopnomi - this is a delicious and hoppy beer. No aftertaste and a hit of bitterness at the front - this is a great taste.

Phil's 1st: also Greenpoin Hopnomi. Very good and hoppy. Not as bitter as you would think. There's a small small bit of malty sweetness that just curbs the bitterness enough to take it off your mind. A definite yes from me.

Brad's 2nd: Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter - pretty smooth but no bite like a typical porter is. Generally I find porters on the roasted malt end and not on the smooth end (see: Founders Porter) but this is somewhere in the middle.

Phil's 2nd: Greenport Black Duck Porter - very good and mild as porters go. Great Peter(?) taste, but as Brad says, without a major toasted malt bite. The toasty part is still there, don't worry, it's just not an overpowering part of the flavor.

Brad's 3rd: Southhampton North Fork Fresh Hop - this is a delicious light hop taste. This reminds me of a Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere buy makes me feel better about myself because I'm drinking local...

Phil's 3rd: Greenport Citrus IPA - it good. A little on the weird side, it's like your ordered a white ale with a lemon or orange, but got an IPA instead but still with the fruit. The citrus part pretty much splits the hope flavor on half. You get a little hoppiness in the front that is interrupted by the fruit, followed very quickly by the rest of the hops. A good one to try in the middle of your beer evening.

2011 New York City Craft Beer Week: The Beer Friends Event List for Monday - Thursday

Graham

What a kick-off weekend! The Beer Friends enjoyed quite a bit of craft beer this weekend in honor of the 2011 New York City Craft Beer Week. Rattle n' Hum threw a great Barrier and Greenport bash Friday night, the Smuttynose pouring at Mudville on Saturday was fantastic (especially that Homunculus) and we're still not sure which is better - the Concoction or the Penicillin that we tasted on Sunday. Because there is so much to do this week and weekend, we're going to be breaking up the Beer Friends event listings for the week. Today we're throwing at you the events happening from Monday to Thursday. You can then check back on Thursday for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday events - a.k.a. The Grand Finale of NYC Craft Beer Week. We're hitting the streets, bars and breweries this week with a feverish devotion and we sure hope to see all you NYC Beer Friends out there with us!

Monday, September 19

Got a case of the Monday's after such a fantastic craft beer fueled weekend? We understand. We also know how to help.

Allagash Night @ The Stag's Head, Manhattan:

Who doesn't love Belgian styled beer straight from the Northeast's wildest state? Well, Phil probably to be honest - but we're dragging his ass along anyways! Allagash will be pouring their finest Dubbles, Tripel's and Quads alongside some Witte's and maybe even an oak-aged or two. Get your Belgian palate ready and put on your best lumberjack inspired plaid jacket and you'll be ready for this event.

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

Empire Takeover @ Rattle n' Hum, Manhattan:

Empire is one of upstate New York's favorite breweries. Trust me, I'm from there - and yes, I represent every upstater. We love the Cream Ale, would drown in the IPA and are fascinated by Deep Purple. When a brewery takes over the taps at Rattle n' Hum - they really take them over, leave no prisoners kind of style - so expect to see everything. You might be surprised.

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

Oskar Blues Night @ Mudville, Manhattan:

Finish Monday night off with the best canned brew coming out of Colorado. Mudville will be hosting the boys and brews from Oskar Blues. Gubna, Dale's Pale, Lil' Yella Pils, Gordon and more. A few Dale's Pales at the end of a hard Monday helps everyone sleep a bit easier.

Mudville is located at 126 Chambers Street between West Broadway and Church Street, Tribeca, Manhattan.

Tuesday, September 20th

Brooklyn Brewery Presents The Companion @ Good Beer, Manhattan:

Brooklyn Brewery brewed up a special brew for the NYC Craft "Brew" Week (that's 4 brews!). The Companion is the newest edition to the Brewmaster's Reserve Series and is being ushered in as the beer in conjunction with the publishing of brewmaster Garrett Oliver's new book - "The Oxford Companion to Beer." The beer itself is a malty "wheat-wine" that is described by Brooklyn as having a deep malt flavor and a surprisingly light palate that finishes with some fruity notes. They'll also be pouring the Brooklyn Blast, the Post Road Pumpkin and another, yet-to-be-determined draft line. And in good favor, there will be a discount on all Brooklyn brews that night.

Good Beer is located at 422 East 9th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A, East Village, Manhattan.

Captain Lawrence Brewery @ Rattle n' Hum, Manhattan:

Scott the brewer from Captain Lawrence will be on hand with all of his finest Westchester brews. We're expecting the usuals - Liquid Gold, Westchester Pale Ale, etc. alongside everything in the Captain's Reserve section.

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

A Taste of Brooklyn @ Dive 75, Manhattan:

Brooklyn used to be the capital of brewing in the United States. Then everything went to crap. Now Brooklyn is back. Head up to the Upper West Side for a taste of Brooklyn's finest breweries. Dive 75 will be featuring the best of Brooklyn, Kelso, Coney Island and Sixpoint.

Dive 75 is located at 101 West 75th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, Upper West Side, Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 21

Great American Ale Trail Book Signing @ Blind Tiger Ale House, Manhattan:

The Blind Tiger will be hosting author Christian DeBenedetti and throwing him a rare-NY-state-brewed party as he chats you up and signs your copy of his newest book - The Craft Beer Lover's Guide to the Best Watering Holes in the Nation. Blind Tiger will be finding their rarest NY-state brews to toast the occasion. Come and see why they made it into Christians book, although to be honest, most of you reading this probably already know why.

The Blind Tiger Ale House is located at 281 Bleecker Street between Jones Street and 6th Avenue, West Village, Manhattan.

Beer From Strong Island @ The Stag's Head, Manhattan:

Long Island has quickly been falling into place as a big brewing region of New York State. Come see why will 19 taps from Blue Point, Greenport Harbor and Southampton. The list is pretty impressive. Seriously impressive. As in, you'd be foolish not to be there drinking beer from Long Island impressive. Check it out:

Greenport Harbor: Triton, Anti-freeze, Rye Saison, 2nd Anniversary California Common, English IPA, Citrus IPA, The Other Side IPA, Hopnomi, Leaf Pile, Harbor Ale, Black Duck Porter

Southampton: North Fork Fresh Hop, Biere de Mars, Pumpkin, Keller Pils

Blue Point Brewing: Oatmeal Stout Cask, Toxic Sludge, Blueberry Ale, No Apologies

11 Greenport taps? Impressive.

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

Cigar City Brewing Company Throwdown @ Jimmy's No. 43, Manhattan:

Cigar City has quickly become a Beer Friend favorite. Having just hit the NYC beer scene in the recent year or so, we are pleased to have had such a flood of their brew. Now they're throwing it down at Jimmy's No. 43. Brewery Founder Joey Redner will be bringing a solid bunch of kegs for your imbibing pleasure. You'll be drinking Big Apple IPA, Good Gourd, Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Tiaramisu Sweet Stout (one and only NY Keg), Humidor High Jai Alai, Bolita Double Nut Brown, Marshall Zhukov Imperial Stout and White Oak IPA.

How can this getting any better for your palate you ask? Jimmy's will also be throwing an oyster party in the back. That's how.

Jimmy's No. 43 is located at Downstairs 43 East 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, East Village, Manhattan.

Thursday, September 22

Very Old Beer and Extremely Stinky Cheese @ The Ginger Man, Manhattan:

Beer and food go together like fish in water. Except sometimes your beer is really old and your cheese smells up the whole room. Exactly how we like it. Sam Calagione is bringing 4 of Dogfish Head's vintage brews, pairing them with stinky cheese from Murray's Cheeses and letting you drink and eat your heart out. We're talking washing down some delicious cheese with bottles of 2004 Olde School, 2005 World Wide Stout, 2006 120 Min IPA and a 2007 Fort.

There is a hidden Beer Friends of us reviewing World Wide Stout and if you could watch it then it would help reinforce our suggestion you have a cab ready to take you home after trying all four Dogfish Head brews.

The Ginger Man is located at 11 East 36th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues, Midtown, Manhattan.

Empire Line Takeover @ The Pony Bar, Manhattan:

20 Taps. 22 if you count the casks. That's how many Empire brews the Pony Bar will be pouring on Thursday. For those of you who haven't gone beyond the Cream Ale or the IPA, this is your chance to enjoy the liquid product from one of the finest upstate NY breweries. And have another Cream Ale.

The Pony Bar is located at 637 10th Avenue on the Northwest corner of 45th Street, Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan.

NY vs. PA @ The Double Windsor, Brooklyn:

Obviously New York. But we'll take the competition for the sake of getting to drink the beer to help decide the winner. Bluepoint and Greenport Harbor will be representing NY while Troeg's and Victory will be wearing the Pennsylvania state colors. All of a sudden this competition is looking a bit fierce. They'll probably need all your help to decide the winner. We're sure you won't mind lending a hand.

The Double Windsor is located at 210 Prospect Park West on the Northwest Corner of 16th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Alright all you Beer Friends out there! Those are what we think are the finest things to do this NYC Craft Beer Week. Hopefully we'll see (and remember the next morning) you out at the bars! Make sure to check back Thursday morning to see our favorite events happening during the weekend finale. Cheers!

Beer Review 60: Blue Point Hoptical Illusion

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! This week the Beer Friends head back out to Billy Joel's native land, Long Island for Blue Point's Hoptical Illusion.  This is the third beer the Beer Friends have reviewed (Spring Fling and Supreme Pumpkin) but the first you can get year round from Blue Point Brewing.  We had a great time at the Brew House (I mean who doesn't have a great time at a brewery?) Check out Hoptical Illusion for a nice year round hop flavor!  Beer!  Islands!  Year Round flavor!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRfSMPhY4ro]

New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of 2/14

Graham

Valentines Day is a time to express your love for the most wonderful, important and meaningful thing in your life - craft beer!  And instead of buying it chocolates or roses you can show your affection by heartily consuming it at the following craft beer events - enjoy! Monday, February 14 - Magic Hat Beer Tasting @ Broadway Dive Bar, Manhattan:

What says Valentines Day most to you?  A) Chocolates B) Overpriced Greeting Card Holiday C) Roses D) Magic Hat Beer.  In the unlikely chance that you answered D, then you've made it to the right place.  The Dive Bar on Broadway in Morningside Heights is having a Magic Hat beer tasting event Monday night for all you lovers...and haters...out there.  Stop on by for some of the best brews that Magic Hat has to offer.  Stick around for the good music and good atmosphere.  And the love.

Broadway Dive is located at 2662 Broadway at 101st Street, Morningside Hieghts, Manhattan.

Tuesday, February 15 - Geary's Brewery @ Rattle N' Hum, Manhattan:

When you think of Geary's one thinks of lobsters.  I know I do.  On Tuesday when I think of Rattle n' Hum, I'll now think of Geary's.  New Hampshire's staple brewery, Geary's, will be bringing some of their craftiest pours to you at Rattle n' Hum on Tuesday.  They'll be pouring the Pale Ale, Geary's Hampshire Ale, Porter, Winter, Autumn and a delicious Geary's Hampshire Ale on cask infused with whiskey.  With Whiskey!  New Hampshire winters are pretty frigid, what would you expect them to do?

Rattle n' Hum is located at 14th E 33rd Street between Madison and 5th Avenues, Midtown East, Manhattan.

Tuesday, February 15 - A Taste of Victory @ The Stag's Head, Manhattan:

Our favorite brewery from Pennsylvania will be having themselves an event at the Stag's Head on Tuesday.  Victory Brewing Co. will be setting up 10 draft lines that will be pouring all our favorites - Saison de BUFF, Moonglow, St. Victorious, Yakima Glory, Storm King, Pursuit Pale Ale and Harvest Pils.  They'll also be introducing their newest brew - Headwater Pale Ale.  Headwater refers to the water source that they use for brewing their craft - The Brandywine River.  They'll also be serving up some classic Philly-style cheese steak spring rolls in order to satiate your love for Philadelphia.  And steak.

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

Wednesday, February 16 - Learn More About Beer with Blue Point @ Idle Hands Bar, Manhattan:

We all know plenty about beer.  It's kind of our passion, inspiration, life.  Well same deal goes for Blue Point and they are showcasing event to share their love with you.  They will be bringing a few of their master brewers down to Idle Hands Bar in Alphabet City to share their knowledge and their beer.  A $30 event ticket gets you access to a two hour event tasting featuring tastings of 5 of their brews, an expert to inform you and answer any questions about style and brand, special Blue Point pours, appetizers and collectibles to bring home.  Whether you are a beer genius or beginner Blue Point will bring their passion to you.

Idle Hands Bar is located at 25 Avenue B between 2nd and 3rd Streets, East Village, Manhattan.

Thursday, February 17 - Left Hand Tap Takeover @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn:

Left Hand has been showing up a lot recently in the Beer Friends world.  Events around the city, visits to the brewery this past summer and a possible Fade to Black Beer Friends review coming in the near future (hint hint).  Well, nothing better to keep them on your mind than another Left Hand event in NYC!  Head out to the BK Growler Mecca at Bierkraft this Thursday and have a few pints of Left Hands best offerings.   Just to let you know - this years Fade to Black is a smoked Baltic porter.  Holler.

Bierkraft is located at 151 5th Avenue between Sackett and Union Streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Saturday, February 19 - Left Hand Brewery Tasting Event @ GRAB Specialty Foods, Brooklyn:

Are you seeing double?  Well that depends how many craft brews have you had before you started reading this?  In reality though you are not.  Two Left Hand events in 3 days is a reality.  And we're excited.  Head over to GRAB Specialty Foods for the next installment of their Saturday brewery tastings.  Left Hand will be heading straight from Bierkraft over to GRAB with their finest brews for you to continue tasting.  And oh will you continue tasting them.

GRAB Specialty Foods is located at 438 7th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Beer Review 36: Blue Point Supreme Pumpkin and Fire Island Pumpkin Barrel Ale

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Happy October 25th!(?) Today the Beer Friends explore a newer fad within the beer community - Pumpkin Ales.  Available in the fall season, these beers give a alternative to the traditional Octoberfest beers available inbetween Summer and Winter.  We reviewed Blue Point Supreme Pumpkin Ale and Fire Island Pumpkin Barrel Ale to see which was better and why.  This is a battle between two New York City area beers, and the Beer Friends have visited Blue Point Brewery but have yet to check out Fire Island Brewery.  Pumpkin + Beer!  = Pumpkin Beer!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TqepNRhimU]

Get Real NY Cask Ale and Food Festival Recap

Graham

Last Saturday Get Real NY threw an epic bash that will sure to be remembered in cask ale history. The Get Real NY Cask Ale and Food Festival was held at the spectacular space in the Altman Building on 18th street between 6th and 7th in the Chelsea Neighborhood of Manhattan. Craft Beer Week banners hung from the outside of the building and there were happy cask alers milling about, at once this Beer Friend knew he was at a friendly place. Upon entering I was given a list of the featured cask ales and food, a NYC Craft Beer Week passport AND a commemorative glass. As well as unlimited access to all the craft beer and NYC featured food that I could eat. To say that I was exhilarated here would be an understatement. I did a quick round of the place, trying to take in as much as possible before diving in to all the delicious beer and food. A large red curtain hung in the entranceway, dimming that harmful sunlight that we all know can inhibit drinking and make hangovers worse, but while keeping the room classy at the same time. The cask brew kegs were set up in the middle of the room on a three tiered rectangular wooden structure that had to be 10 kegs x 4 kegs x 3 kegs for you geometry nuts out there. The cask structure was then surrounded by serving tables that held even more kegs, with one side completely devoted to specially selected regional homebrew winners. An excellent staff of pourers - including the homebrewers themselves as well as a selection from the NYC Bartending School - were kindly serving up generous samples of the cask ales all the while providing good beer conversation. The food tables lined the walls, with a special selection devoted to even more beer mostly from Duvel and Ommegang. In one corner a 3 piece band - stand up bass, saxophone and electric guitar - made up of the members of the NYC band Big 5 Core (who will be playing at Rodeo Bar on 10/10/10) played jazz/classical/blues favorites with an electric guitar rock twist, which gave the event an edgy-classiness. After taking all this in, I decided to head for the beer.

This is just a short list of the cask brews I sampled during the event. Somewhere near the middle you'll notice that I found the Sixpoint section and got sucked in, rightfully so, to trying 3 new brews of theirs that were not only new to the taste, but I had never even heard of - you can imagine how excited I was. I tried to describe the ones that really stuck out in my mind, but since the sampling of food and brew was so fast paced I wasn't able to record all my thoughts. I will however denote whether or not it was a brew I'd never tried or never heard of before, of which there were many.

Bear Republic - Rebellion - New! citrusy and nicely hopped. Left hand - Milk Stout Greenport - Hopnami Sixpoint - Pumpkin - New! Lighter in flavor but definitely pumpkin pie. Smooth and easy to drink with a thanksgiving feel to it. Sixpoint - Oyster - New! A lighter tasting stout, still big in flavor but real easy in drinkability. Sixpoint - Missionary - New! This beer smells like a hop nugget. I want an air freshener that smells this way. That I could liquify and drink like a beer. Maybe I'd just like this beer all the time. Bruery - Mischief - New! Strong Belgian pale ale Southern Tier - 2x IPA - Hops, hops, hops. Alcohol. Hops. Riverhorse - Hippo Latern Otter Creek - Alpine Black IPA - New! Really roasted malt heavy IPA. The cask brings out that malt flavor, which keeps the hops a little more in check but with out putting them to bed. Lagunitas - Maximus - This beer has been steadily rising on my all-time-favorite-beer-list, and this helped it go up further. The cask style brings out so much of the bready malt flavor and the hops are perfect. If you can find a sixer of this, then do so. Two Brothers - Resistance IPA Blue Point - Toxic sludge Black IPA - New! Another black IPA well worth the adventure to find. Again the cask brings out those dark malts and this one had a bit more hops present than the Otter Creek Alpine. You know how those hops get me goin'. Bear Republic - Norcal Bitter - New! Billingsgate - Belgian Strong Ale - New! This is a home-brew winner made by Dylan and Andrew out of a home-brewery they've named Hell's Gate. Very tart and delicious. I will be plugging you with their info very soon (like two paragraphs from now!) Pretty Things - St Boltophs

Now mind you, these were only sampler pours. Had they not been, well...you can imagine the state I would've been in. Throughout the process of sampling all these delicious cask brews I would head over to grab samples of meat, cheese (Lucy's Whey Cheese Shop), bread (Grandaisy Bakery - their bread is incredible and I probably ate half of it), pretzels (Martin's Pretzel's), salsa (Brooklyn Salsa), olive-based-everything-that-is-delicious-stand (Wall and Water), pickled everything (Sour Puss Pickles), lobster rolls (Luke's Lobster's), cookies (Amy's Cookies), etc. Needless to say, with all these fantastic restaurants participating, I did not go hungry (or thirsty!).

Towards the end of the event I started up a short conversation with one of the home-brew winners that I mentioned earlier. Dylan and Andrew are a home-brewing team that submitted two beers into the Get Real NY Cask and Food event. I got to try their Strong Ale, which was nice and tart with a great drinkable character to it. They've also submitted a couple concoctions to the Whole Foods HomeBrew Contest and are waiting to see how they place. They were friendly enough to chat me up for awhile even as the event was closing down, so I'm sure they'd be friendly enough to chat you up as well. Maybe even give you a sample, or at least tell you where to find one of their brews. You can stay up to date with Dylan and Andrew on Facebook at Billingsgate.

I feel like I can't give this review enough positive feedback to you as a reader, without you having gone and experienced it with me. The music was calming, creative and energetic. The food was top notch and the event space was beautiful. The staff was friendly and familiar with beer and was happy to pour you anything twice. The cask ales gave unique perspectives to familiar brews and offered us fresh tastes of newly brewed (or never had before) creations. This is an event that I will keep coming back to as long as they decide to keep throwing it. Cheers to this one!

As always you can friend and follow The Beer Friends on both Twitter and Facebook. Just look us up under the name TheBeerFriends

NYC Beer Events - Week of 8/22

Graham

Aaaaaand we're back!  The Beer Friends NYC Beer Events calendar updates took a bit of hiatus recently if you hadn't noticed.  I'd apologize, but it was for a good reason.  A Colorado Brewery Tour is a good reason right?  I think so.  You'll be hearing all about the Colorado trip and the 15 breweries we visited while there all in good time.  For now let's talk about what's happening with craft beer this week in this little town. Wednesday, August 25 - Sierra Nevada Extravaganza, Blind Tiger Ale House, Manhattan: It's that time of year again!  Sierra Nevada will be taking over the taps at the Blind Tiger Ale House for their yearly extravaganza.  Last years event was phenomenal with all of Sierra Nevada's fantastic regulars and more than a handful of rarely released and specialty brews.  This is a brewery event you won't want to miss at a beer bar that always puts on a great time.

Wednesday, August 25 - Blue Point Night, Standings, Manhattan: East Village Craft Brew hotspot Standings will be featuring four lines of Long Island's favorite brewery:  Blue Point Brewing Co., out of Patchogue, New York.  They haven't released the names of the brews that will be pouring but we imagine it'll be somewhere along the lines of the Toasted Lager, Blueberry, Hoptical and maybe something mysterious.  Or the Summer Ale.

Thursday, August 26 - Allagash Night, Barcade, Brooklyn: It has been faaar too long since the Beer Friends have made it out  to this Brooklyn brewhouse/arcade.  It has been one of our favorite bars for beer events and Pac-man and an Allagash event seems like a perfect reason to head back.  So come on out to Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and join us in sharing some of Allagash's traditional and experimental Belgian-Style Brews.  I'm looking forward to grabbing an Allagash Black and maybe a Curieux.

Saturday, September 4- Pony Bar Express, (leaving from) The Pony Bar, Manhattan: I know that Sept. 4th is not part of the week of 8/22...however this is something you need to do a.s.a.p.  The Pony Bar is featuring another installment of their Pony Bar Express tours, this one up to Ithaca, NY for the Ithaca Beer Co.'s Beer Festival.  Let's talk about this event for a moment before you run out and by tickets:  The Pony Bar rents out a chartered coach bus, taps a few (last time it was 4 - this time is a longer drive so...6?) kegs for the ride up and heads out to whatever brewery in the tri (quad?) state area is having a beer festival.  This one is sure to be as spectacular as all the previous combined.  Over 40 breweries will head to Ithaca, a quiet, college city nestled against Cayuga, one of the many gorgeous finger lakes.  We're not sure how many tickets remain but you have to order from the friendly bartenders.  So head in and have a pint and buy yourself a ticket.  However, in order to get a spot on this trip, you gotta act quickly.  As in now.  Run!

The Pony Bar @ 45th and 10th Ave (NW Corner)

The Beer Friends, although we miss Colorado already, are very happy to be back among the concrete mountains of NYC and the crisp craft beer rivers flowing from its many beer bars.  We hope to see you out at these events this week and the many more to come.  Keep checking in every Monday/Tuesday for more weekly brew events here in the world's greatest city.

NYBrewfest jun 19th!

Phil Foleen

All dressed up and nowhere to go on June 19th?  Well you are in luck, my friend, because the 4th annual NY Brewfest just happens to be on that very day!

Right now they are listing 26 breweries from NY State, 38 breweries from the rest of the US of A, and another 15 breweries of the international variety.  Click through for more details.

The festivities are from 3:30pm-8pm on Governor's Island in NYC, which is pretty fantastic since you can only get there by boat, so you can have as much beer as you want!  Prices range from $55+tax etc, $75 for a Connoisseur's admission which gets you in an hour early, and if for some reason you don't want any beer, there's a Music Lover's ticket for $25.

The best thing about your ticket is it includes your very own sampling glass, all the food you can eat while you're there, and a round trip ticket for the NY Water Taxi to get you there!  Now that's a bargain!  The music is looking pretty good too, c'mon Bagpipe Dudes!

They also have Seminars, but nothing under the heading yet so stay tuned, and if you're in a giving mood you can also Volunteer to help out.

All in all this looks like a can't miss event for anyone who's in the area and loves beer.  On the site they say that the last 3 Brewfests have sold out, so you may want to get your tickets early.  I know I am.  Tickets link is below.

Get you tickets HERE

Thanks Ken for the lead!

The Beer Friends Final Four

Corporate Kerouac

It is March and here at the beer friends we are all swept up in bracket madness.  We picked 32 beers to fight through a bracket to see which one would come out #1.  Today is the first round of voting to help us decide the #1 BFFF Beer.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMLsjDAo34k&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzy7NFyMqX8]

Pry Off Vs. Twist Off

Corporate Kerouac

I have had a bottle opener on my key chain since my senior year of college.  I remember my first one fondly, it was a Yeugnling bottle opener that I got at a campus bar night.  Being from New England, Yeungling was a new and exciting beer for me.  It was the first beer I got to bring home to show my father and I had an awesome new key chain with the brand on it.  Never mind that Yeungling gave me a bottle opener to use it on their twist off bottles.  I loved America’s oldest brewery because it was new and exciting, and I didn't care that it bore the mark of a major brewery.  It wasn't like I was drinking it for its craftiness.  I had plenty of other beers to use that bottle opener on. That bottle opener lasted long after the logo had rubbed off.  For the past 9 years it has been my key to Craft beer.  I got it when I was the kid at college who like good (read: dark) beer and kept it through my move to New York about 3 years ago and became craft beer drinker.  Whether it was Craft Beer or an import, there was always one constant in my beer drinking, prying a piece of metal off the hole of a glass bottle.

Imagine my confusion last year when I grabbed a Blue Point bottle that read "Craft Beer" on the label and "Twist Off" on the cap. I had always connected Craft Beers with pry off tops.  Twist off caps were always the sign of mass market major brewery, but this was a small brewery that’s using the twist off caps.  The question then becomes why do some breweries choose to use pry off caps while others use twist off?

The simplest and most frequent answer is "because of oxygen."  We don't want air getting in and making our beer all flat and gross.  It's obvious that all the major breweries don't care; they just want the quickest and easiest way to cap their bottles. They aren't Craft Brewers, they don't care about the flavor of their beer. Twist off caps are easier to get off, so they must be easier to put on.  This makes sense to me, I can rationalize corporate greed over beer purity.  I could probably even rally on that cause. I am a beer lover after all.

Something still doesn’t sit right though.  You are going to be hard pressed to convince me that Blue Point doesn't care about their beer... yet they still have twist off caps.

So why choose pry off over twist off?

The oxygen debate is too simple.  No brewery is going to use a cap with an inadequate seal.  It’s obvious that twist off caps work, so is there a reason why Craft Breweries choose to use pry off caps?  Ultimately this whole debate comes down to economics: pry off caps give them the best seal for the lowest price.  It's cheaper to get a tighter seal with pry off caps then it is with twist off caps.  The machinery used to make and adequate seal with a twist off cap isn’t cost effective for smaller breweries.

Sierra Nevada offers us the best insight on this topic.  Being a Craft Brewery that switched from twist off to pry off in 2007, They studied the differences between twist off and pry off bottle caps for 12 years before making the move to pry off.  They cited the seal as the reason they decided to switch, but didn’t blame this on the actual twisting part of the cap.  In a letter they sent to a concerned customer, they outlined that after years of testing, they had found a new material that would create a better seal, keeping the beer fresher longer.  However this material was too rigid to work properly with the twist off caps, prompting a switch to the new pry off caps.  This is the only account I could find that actually stated that the pry off caps made a significant enough difference on the seal to make it worth switcing.  

The majority of Craft Brewers still use pry off bottle caps, and I imagine it will stay that way.  Even if all caps are created equal, something just doesn't feel right about taking a bottle cap off with my bare hands.