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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: New York City Good Beer Month

Brewery of the Week: Victory Brewing Company


Heya all you Beer Friends out there!  Today we are featuring the Victory Brewing Company out of Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  Victory was founded in 1996 by Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet.  Before opening Victory Brewing Co., Coaleski and Barchet traveled to Europe to learn from the best brewers in Belgium and Germany.  When they came back to the U.S. they brought with them century old brewing techniques heavily based in German traditions and combined it with their good ol' American creativity to produce some of the best craft brew in the Northeast.  The blogger Beerlass, writing for the website Philadelphia Restaurants, name Covaleski and Barchet the "Founding Fathers of Philly Beer."  A title they have definitely earned. Victory is getting a special mention here with the Beer Friends due to their heavy involvement in New York City Good Beer Month.  The Victory brewing team held several events here in the city including beer showcasing events at the Blind Tiger Ale House (Beer Friends recap of the night) and Sunswick 3535 and beer tastings hosted by the brewers at Jimmy's No. 43.  We love the cross-city craft brew cooperation!

Victory has several year-round flagship brews that are popularly imbibed throughout their 30-state distribution area.  Let's start with the Hop-Devil IPA.   Using German Two-Row Malts and generous amounts of whole American hop flowers, the Hop Devil gives you a bitter, herbal punch in the face and then runs away with a malty smoothness.  Very drinkable and definitely an eye-catcher on any menu. You can also find the "Wild Devil" that is a tarter version of the hop devil thanks to being brewed with wild yeast.

The next brew is a personal favorite of this Beer Friend.  One of the best Pilsners available, the Prima Pils has an incredible drinkability that is layered with a mellow malty presence and an herbal hop that is definitely not try to hide.  The crisp, clear, golden quality of the beer that lends to the drinkability does not, in any way, sacrifice the flavor profile.  I will seek this brew out wherever it hides.  The best part is that it rarely hides.  You can find it at many bodega's and bars around this wonderful city.

Victory also has a few stouts that make a dark name for themselves.  The Storm King has a strong Pacific hop presence up front and finishes with a colossal roasted malt body.  Drink this if you're feeling a little chilled, cause' it will definitely warm you up.  The Donnybrook Stout is brewed in the Dry-Irish Stout tradition.  It has a low ABV (3.7%) and is layered with roasted malt flavor.  The hops are European and give it an earthiness reminiscent of sipping on a home-brewed stout next to a roasting peat fire in the middle of a soft Irish night.  It's poured on a nitro-tap and is a welcoming substitute for other, more popular, imported Irish stouts.

Victory also has an extensive, and deliciously rare, selection of seasonal brews.  The Whirlwind Witbier is a diverse selection of flavors otherwise not expected from a easy drinking summer brew. It's got the Beglian yeast, grows to a lay down some spice and mellows out with unmalted wheat.

St. Victorious Doppelbock is the type of lager you'd have on a blustery December night as you were trekking through the Black Forest of Germany.  Rich in earthy flavor and spices and a nicely tempered, but definitely aware 7.6% ABV this is a first choice for any cold Northern Hemisphere day or night.

Last, but definitely not least (definitely not) is the Yakima Twilight.  This brew defines the definition of "Big Beer."  The flavor profile is intense and complex.  The brewers use dark, roasted German Malts and 4 whole flower Yakima Valley Hops, the famous hop variety from Washington, USA.  It deploys a massive herbal bitterness from start to finish with a big dark malty backup punch.  This beer is rare and only available between November and January.  I suggest make an adventure to find it in your city, like an all day thing.  Then buy a bunch, drink most of it and age the rest in a dark place for awhile.  Then break it out in the spring, summer or fall when you can't find it anymore.

Thanks Victory for being such a big part of New York City Good Beer Month and for brewing some of the best craft beer the East Coast has to offer! We'll see you soon!

New York City Good Beer Month - Week of July 26


It is sad, but it is true….this is the last week of New York City Good Beer Month. We at the Beer Friends would like to give a huge thanks to the guys over at the Good Beer Seal for coming up with the NYC Good Beer Month idea, getting the mayor to proclaim it to be true and then organizing a multitude of good events with local bars, breweries and organizations to highlight how much this city loves its craft beer. If this isn’t a sign that the Craft Beer Revolution is in full force, then I don’t know what is.

Your last week of NYC Good Beer Month is filled with some exciting culminating events. Check em’ out below…we’ll see you there!

Tuesday, July 27 – Sixpoint @ Rattle N’ Hum, Manhattan: On Tuesday we will all be very lucky people. The city’s youngest brewery and one of the brightest on the scene will be showcasing their best pours (which is all of them) at Rattle n’ Hum (33rd just East of 5th). Come catch all of Sixpoint’s best beers with the Beer Friends. We will definitely be in attendance searching for some Bengali Tiger, Sweet Action, Righteous Rye, Brownstone, Otis and some of the new Signal IPA. Nothing like Sixpoint to bring NYC Good Beer Month back home. Plan to check back here tomorrow for the recap...I wouldn't miss this for anything.

****Sixpoint Craft Ales has been a Beer Friend Brewery of the Week.  Check out the article!****

Wednesday, July 28 – Good Beer At Bam, Manhattan: This event is the signature farewell to NYC Good Beer Month. The guys at Good Beer Seal got some of the best regional brewers to provide their beer as inspiration for some of the best regional chefs in an event that is all-encompassingly mouth watering. Using the beer to fuel their fires, the best NYC and surrounding area chefs will be cooking up succulent food pairings. The event is only for ticketed guests so make sure you go purchase yours today. I’m sure they are going fast.  Buy your tickets here!

Wednesday, July 28 – Two Brothers Night @ Blind Tiger, Manhattan: Two Brothers Brewery will be making a rare trip to NYC to provide us with 15+ taps of their delicious craft creations. Make your way down to the village for some delicious craft beer. The Beer Friends will be in attendance.

Thursday, July 29 - Christmas in July @ Burp Castle, Manhattan: Keeping with the Christmas in July theme, Burp Castle is throwing their own celebration.  Featuring Troeg's Mad Elf and Jenlain Noel on tap along with free Belgian fries at the bar.  After all, what is Christmas without Belgian fries?

Saturday, July 31 - The Great Hot Dog Cookoff @ Kelso Brewery, Brooklyn: Good beer leads to good things.  Kelso Brewery takes that to the next level by closing down their block in Brooklyn and hosting a huge craft brew fueled hotdog cookoff to benefit City Harvest, a New York food bank charity.  They bring in a bunch of culinary experts to compete for your attention for their hotdogs in order to find out who cooks up the best weiner.  There will also be plenty of craft beer available.  I've heard they got a pretty rockin' set of bands playing too.  Charity never tasted so good.

The Beer Friends would like to thank you for hanging out with us during this wonderful craft beer month.  Hopefully we'll get to see familiar faces at all the events this week.  We'll be the ones walking around with the petition to extend NYC Good Beer Month to August.  And September, and October and...

Victory Beer Night at the Blind Tiger Ale House


A long, long time ago (less than a week) in a bar far, far away (about 3 subway stops) Victory Brewery held a night of epic craft beer proportions.  The Blind Tiger Ale House hosted Victory Brewery last Wednesday night, 7/14/10, showcasing 20+ of their brews.  Two of the beer friends made this long trek and their account of the night follows below.  Enjoy! Graham's Beers:

I arrived here about an hour before Paul did, just to check out the scene.  It wasn't too busy, but it was also early-late night, which is when this bar shines in my opinion.  You can always get a seat or a table and one has little trouble ordering or chatting about the beers with the bartender.  Even though it was 10ish (the event started at 6) there were still some of the Victory guys there.  Notably their regional marketing/sales guy and one of the head brewers.  And since it wasn't terribly busy they were available to discuss some of their beers with us (notably the difference between the holletaur and the holledaur).

Pursuit Pale Ale  - Amarillo

The Pursuit Pale Ale series is a bunch of pale ales brewed with different types of hops.  I started with the Pursuit Amarillo, which by name, is brewed with Amarillo hops.  The Amarillo is very drinkable, which is the pale ale part, but the Amarillo hop presence gives it a taste approaching that of an IPA.   The smells off draught is almost non existent which probably lends to the light mouth feel and easy drink-ability. How ever the flavor from front to back is straight Amarillo hops. Very pleasing and very much in the sense of earthy herbal Victory hop brews.  Hop Devil is next.

Scratch Hop Devil Sean, the New York City Regional Sales Manager (don't worry, he wasn't a suit and was very well versed on everything Victory Beer related) bought us a round of CBC Hollertaur - Belgian single hop.  CBC stands for the Craft Brewers Conference and is a series of beers that Victory brews.  They brew many different styles for the CBC series, most of which you can only get at the brewery.  Those of us at the Blind Tiger for the event however were lucky enough to score some of the CBC brews.

CBC Hollertauer

CBC Hollertauer is a Belgian Pale Ale.   It pours a nice golden color, which a good sized head.  The smell of bread and spicy noble hops greats me as I go for the first sip.  Very easily drinkable, approaching a medium body, the yeast flavor gives it a mellow Belgian underpinning but, like this beer is supposed to do, it completely showcases the hops. It is single hopped, of the Hallertau variety I believe.  Very herbal and satisfying. Easily drinkable with that good fruit/bready presence. Truly showcases Victory's range in the craft beer world in which they are already legends.

After the Hollertaur, I had to move on to the CBC Hollerdauer - a Bavarian Pale Ale.

It pours with a similar golden color to the Holletauer, slightly more on the copper side.  The smell is more of a weiss, with a similar bready smell that is complimented by a slightly caramel malty presence.  The brew approaches medium body but even though it is hopped with, I believe, 5 different hop varieties it comes off as less herbal and spicy that fades quickly leaving a very present weiss taste. It takes away from the 5 hop variety and lends to a much smoother finish.

Hop Devil

After having those Belgian brews that are showcasing the hops you are a bit let down with the Hop Devil. The beer is copper in color and smells of dominant bitter hops.  There is a strong bitter hop there and the malts are present but in comparison it is so easy drinkable.  I have had it many times before and very much respect it as a beer, but it comes off as being more of a strong bitter hop, rather than the herbal showcasing of the Belgian and Bavarian Pale Ales I had previously.  Still a great IPA and is a readily available Victory product here in NYC.

Old Horizontal Barleywine

To finish the night I went with the Old Horizontal Barleywine.  It's exactly as I remember it.  Darker copper/reddish in color and smelling of a strong alcohol burn that is almost perfectly complimented by that malts.  The taste is strong and bitter, there is a sweetness that runs side-by-side from start-to-finish with a strong alcohol burn.  It definitely leaves a warm feeling inside, that maybe was too warm for the temperature of a hot NYC summer night, but it left a nice haze perfect for the end of the night.  Have one of these and then have a cab driver get you home.  Which I did!

Paul's Beers:

Victory Helios - Saisons is a style I'm not incredibly familiar with but I generally like them. This one is a good ale. Smooth start that rolls over sweet and leaves with a taste you'd expect from a saison. This was one of the first Saison's I ever had. This is what I am expecting when I order a Saison.

Victory Scarlet Fire - what a delicious Rauchbier. This is another style that is new to me, but a lot of my friends like to call rauchbiers  "bacon" beers, but this is a different type of pork.  This is ribs, delicious smoky  ribs...

Victory Grassy Jack Bitter- very tasty beer. Its hoppy, but not overly hopped. The flavor is good and strong.  Its a beverage that I would like to have after work. Strong enough to let me know the day is over and shows me the gateway to the night.

Thanks Victory and Blind Tiger for a great event!  We hope to see Victory being showcased in the city soon and more often!

Featured Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales


In honor of their heavy involvement in New York City Good Beer Month AND in honor of how much The Beer Friends love what these guys put out, we decided to review one of Brooklyn's best breweries: Sixpoint Craft Ales.  Sixpoint Craft Ales was founded in 2004 by Shane Welch and is located in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.  Despite their youth, Sixpoint has continually put out excellent product after excellent product, all while maintaining one of the most prominent images in the New York City craft beer scene.  They recently did some work on their brewhouse so that they could start accommodating their growing legions of fans.  You can catch tours at their 40 Van Dyke Street location on Saturday afternoons, they are highly recommended. Before I talk about the many top-of-the-line Sixpoint I would like to try to page homage to their creative, artistic and Old School Brooklyn philosophy.  Sixpoint represents the characteristics that have embodied the borough of Brooklyn for what is now centuries.  On their website you can check out their beautifully worded explanation which will far out-weigh anything I have to say about them.  What I will say though is that Sixpoint Craft Ales represents the piece of Brooklyn that is hard work, good craftmenship and unbridled creativity where anything that is done with quality and heart is respected among the rough edged, but artistically minded denizens of this great second city.

Sixpoint's flagship brew is their Sweet Action.  Sweet Action pours a nice Orange/Amber color that gives you your first desire  drink it.  After that the aroma imparts a slightly hoppy, malty sweetness with some touches of pine and earthiness.  Sweet to the taste, with an underlying hint of fruit that melds nicely with the fuller malty flavor.  The hops aren't as present as the smell would lead on, however the strong quality of the malt and the sweet hints at both the beginning and the end are enough flavor to keep one coming back for another.

My personal favorite Sixpoint Craft Ale is their leading IPA: The Bengali Tiger.  Perfect golden orange hue that a light can shine through but is definitely not transparent, which leads one to believe it is on the fuller mouthfeel side of things.  The smell is full of citrusy hops.  The first taste you are rewarded by getting a chance to enjoy a plentiful bouqet of those citrus hops.  The body is closer to the medium side of things, but still drinkable enough to have several.  Same with the hops, if you had three of these, they still wouldn't overpower your palate.  It's harder to find Bengali Tiger than it is some of the following Sixpoint Craft Ales, however I thought this one, if not for my own personal love of it, deserved a bigger write up.

Sixpoint has a few other flagship brews including Righteous Rye, a rye brew with a big rye malt flavor and a good dose of hops.  Brownstone is a deliciously malty brown ale with generous roasted malt flavor.  The Otis is a fantastic oatmeal stout that is full bodied, with a rich creamy head that flows into a generous chocolate-malt flavor.  Finally, their Apollo Wheat is the most easily drinkable, while keeping in full flavor and body, of any summer wheat that I've had.  Goes down without a heavy wheat flavor which leaves it refreshing, but the beer is still substantial enough to know you're drinking a beer.  You can also find their Old Krusher Barleywine around if you're lucky.

Sixpoint Craft Ales are a company who's brews are new takes on classic American beer styles while keeping them incredibly drinkable and refreshing but never sacrificing in flavor.  In fact, the way their beers taste, the flavor probably couldn't be thought about in terms of sacrifice anyways.  Find Sixpoint.  Drink Sixpoint.  Drink it often.

New York City Good Beer Month: Events for Week of 7/12


Hello Beer Friends!

The first week of New York City Good Beer Month was a resounding success with the 'Cool Sh#t Event' at Rattle n' Hum, the Bear Republic 'Sour Patch' Event at Bar Great Harry and Magic Hat Brew Night at Standings.  And we heard that Sixpoint Craft Ales were pouring like waterfalls over at Meatopia on Governors Island Sunday.

Let's look forward to another great week, as usual you will be able to catch The Beer Friends at most of these events.

July 13 - Rattle n' Hum, Manhattan: Pretty Things Brewery event!  The self-proclaimed gypsy brewery, Pretty Things, is most notable for their cute tap handles (seriously, craft beer chick's love the tap handles) and their Belgian influenced beers and ales.  Rattle n' Hum will be featuring some of our Pretty Things favorites, might we even see the appearance of the 22 oz.  London Mild Ale historical recreation?  One could only hope...

July 13 - Burp Castle, Manhattan: Starkbierzeit Festival!  The Starkbierzeit Festival, which tranlates to Strong Beer Festival, will be featuring several high profile and high intensity brews along with free Belgian fries (are there better fries then Belgian fries?).  But Shhhh!  Try to keep your excitement quiet while ordering, Burp Castle has a strict, low volume rule while on premise.  Sometimes though, it's better to sip on high octane brews in a low octane sort of way.

July 14 - Blind Tiger Ale House, Manhattan: I'm happy to announce that one of The Beer Friends favorite breweries will be having a brewery event at one of The Beer Friends favorite New York Beer Bars.  Head down to the West Village this Wednesday for the Victory Brewery Night at the Blind Tiger Ale House.  You will definitely find The Beer Friends at this one having a few of their favorite Victory Brews:  Prima Pils, Hop Devil IPA, Storm King Stout and hopefully a few other secret/rare releases.

There is another special event on Tuesday, July 13.  New York City Beer Month has its own Beer Sessions Radio hosted by Jimmy Carbone, co-founder of the Good Beer Seal and owner of Jimmy's No. 43 in the East Village.  This week they will be releasing, for the first time, a limited smoked beer brewed by Sixpoint Craft Ales specially for the New York City Good Beer Month.  It was poured for the first time at Meatopia and can only be found at certain Good Beer Seal bars.  This is truly a treasure that The Beer Friends will be hunting to find throughout the month.  Listen to the Beer Sessions Radio tomorrow @ 5 p.m. for where to catch it and follow The Beer Friends twitter/facebook feed to join the hunt with us.

As always, thanks to our New York Good Beer Month organizers over at the Good Beer Seal and our beloved Mayor Bloomberg.

Let's hope Good Beer Month stays for awhile.  See you at the bars!

Mayor Decrees: July is NYC Good Beer Month!


Welcome Beer Friends!

If you are a Beer Friend who lives in New York City then congratulations!  Our beloved Mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared that the month of July in New York City is Good Beer Month.  The whole month!  The Beer Friends will be covering all the action that this month will hold: festivals, pub crawls, brewery events and the best places in the city to find the best selection of only the finest craft beers that this great nation (and city) have to offer.

Stay posted to for all the up-to-date information on Good Beer Month.

Here’s some to start you out with:

July 6 – Bar Great Harry, Brooklyn: This craft brew stronghold on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens will be pouring some good Bear Republic, featuring the Sour Patch.  Check er’ out and get some sweetness this Tuesday.

Rattle N Hum, Manhattan: The first event at Rattle N Hum for Good Beer Month is "Cool Shit Event" featuring Unibroue, Nogne, Jolly Pumpkin, Dieu Du Ciel, Samichlaus and Uthel.

July 7 – Standings, Manhattan: An East Village craft favorite will be serving up four, yes, that’s cuatro, Magic Hat brews.  There is free pizza involved as well.  Is there anything better?

July 11 – Meatopia BBQ NYC Event: BBq’ers from around the country will be coming to Governors Island for the sole reason of having you sample their best, slow cooked meats.  There will also be a fantastic craft brew selection there.

Check it out and buy tickets here:

July 13 - Rattle N Hum, Manhattan: The second event at Rattle N Hum will feature Pretty Things Beer.  So far; it's being advertised that they will bring Jack D'Or, Baby Tree, American Darling, and Saint Botolphs Town on both tap and cask.

All July Long – Swift, Manhattan and Waterfront Ale House, Brooklyn: Greenwich Village’s favorite Hibernian spot, Swift, will be pouring up Pretty Things Brewery and Ale Project brews all month long.  That is fantastic dedication.  Waterfront Ale House in of Brooklyn will be featuring New York State, a.k.a. EMPIRE state, breweries for the entire month.  That’s double dedication.

Keep Checking back here for more news, bar reviews, event live-blogs and general, all-around, fully encompassing Craft Brew Madness. We will continue to update posts with more Good Beer Month events.

Welcome Good Beer Month, we hope you stick around awhile.

Also check out the organizers of Good Beer Month here our friends The Good Beer Seal:

The Actual Written Decree from Mayor Bloomberg declaring July to be New York City Good Beer Month: