Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Best Places to Drink Craft Beer in London

southampton arms

The Southampton Arms

The beer scene in London has exploded over the past 18 months: the city now boasts more than 40 breweries and each week, it seems, a pub converts to the gospel of good beer. Here are the five best places to drink beer in London, as chosen by Will Hawkes, author of Craft Beer London:

1. Craft Beer Company, Clerkenwell (82 Leather Lane, Clerkenwell, EC1N 7TR). There are now three Crafts in London, but the best in terms of beer selection remains the original. As many as 16 real ales are on at any time – and there’s plenty of kegged and bottled beer too.

2. Euston Tap (190 Euston Road, NW1 2EF). This handsome building, in the shadow of a rather less handsome station (think Pennsylvania Station), may be small but the beer is excellent and generally a little bit cheaper than at other ale shrines.

3. Well and Bucket (143 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG). At the top of Brick Lane, you’ll find the newest unmissable pub on London’s craft beer map. The old-school tiling, elegant island bar and well-kept beer makes a couple of pints here a very enjoyable experience indeed.

4. The Southampton Arms (139 Highgate Road, NW5 1LE). It only opened a few years ago, but forget that: this is what an old-school boozer should be like. Lots of cask ale, scotch eggs and a piano in the corner. Cash only!

5. The White Horse (1-3 Parson’s Green, SW6 4UL). There’s been good beer here for eons, and it’s a pretty attractive place too. Find yourself a place at the bar and work your way through the impressive Belgian selection.

Meet Radiant Pig, New York’s Newest Brewery

pig_600x444_scaled_croppOnce upon a time, a new brewery opening in New York City was as uncommon a sight as, say, a dolphin in the Gowanus Canal. But these days, nary a month goes by in the Big Apple without another beer maker appearing on the radar.

Or completely flying under the radar. I pride myself on staying current on the newest craft breweries in town, so I was a bit blindsided (in a good way) by this week’s arrival of Radiant Pig Craft Beers. Where had they come from? And, more importantly, what was up with that name?

First things first, the brewery is the brainchild of Rob Pihl and his girlfriend, Laurisa Milici. For years, Pihl had been an avid homebrewer in his Manhattan apartment. Milici loved drinking beer. So it was sort of a no-brainer that, when they were looking to make a break from their advertising gigs, that they turn their passion into a profession.

Pihl spent several years trying to dial in the recipe for a moderate-strength IPA with plenty of citrusy aromatics. You know, something you could drink by the growler and not be a slurring, stumbling wreck. Finally, he hit upon the perfect hop to use: Falconer’s Flight, a proprietary blend of seven citrusy, tropical, floral varieties.

“It was a blend that was perfect for us,” Milici says. “It brings a unique flavor to the beer,” which became known as Junior IPA—the offspring of a pale ale and an IPA. It would be the flagship of their brewery,  which would be known as Radiant Pig. Continue reading

Craft Beer New York: On Android!

drunk-robotYou asked. We listened. At long last, my Craft Beer New York app is not only available on iPhone. We’ve now created an Android version. As the drunk robot would say, “Awesom-o!”

Reintroducing Peekskill Brewery

photo-copy5This post originally appeared on Craft Beer New York.

After the marathon that was Craft Beer Week, it would be wise to take a break from booze and give my liver some much-needed rest. But what’s the fun in that when New York bars are now pouring beer from one of the most exciting new breweries the city has seen in months?

Well, new brewery might be a bit of a stretch. Peekskill Brewery, located alongside the Hudson River about 50 minutes north of New York, is no spring chicken. Peekskill has been a local linchpin for several years, turning out dependable, if hardly memorable beer. That all changed with last year’s arrival of Jeff O’Neil, the former head brewer at Ithaca Beer Company.

Seeking a smaller, more intimate operation, the Chief, as O’Neil is known, relocated to Peekskill and took over brewing duties. The brewery recently expanded into a nearby four-story stone structure, outfitted with a taproom, pub and plenty of space for barrel-aging and other experiments.  (The brewery is equipped with a coolship, a sort of shallow pan that allows you to spontaneously ferment wort—the broth that becomes beer.)

While Peekskill is worth a journey north (the kitchen’s food will knock your socks off), you do not need to ride the Metro-North to get a taste of O’Neil’s creations. The brewery recently signed a deal to distribute its beers in Westchester and New York City. Around town, tap lines are starting to fill with O’Neil’s divine hop-driven ales, including the passionfruit-like AMAZEballs pale ale (dosed with Australia’s Galaxy hops); unfiltered, lightly citrusy Hop Common; juicy and tropical Double Standard double IPA and refreshing, Brettanomyces-spiked Simple Sour. 

What are you waiting for? It’s time take a peek at this excellent New York brewery.

The Growing Craft Beer Scene in Texas

IM42_Feature-texas-beer

For the latest issue of Imbibe, I take a deep dive into Texas’s burgeoning beer scene. These days, nary a month passes without a Texas brewery expanding or starting up. Long-running operations, such as Live Oak and Spoetzl, are increasing capacity, while Austin is exploding with breweries and brewpubs, such as Hops & Grain, Austin Beerworks, South Austin Brewing and community-supported Black Star Co-op. Dallas is also booming with Deep Ellum and Peticolas Brewing, which won gold at 2012’s Great American Beer Festival for its Royal Scandal pale ale, while Houston recently welcomed Buffalo Bayou and Karbach. And with their wild and barrel-aged ales and style-defying mash-ups—care for a smoky, subtly sour Chipotle Lichtenhainer?—experimental breweries, such as Jester King and Freetail, are making drinkers look at the Lone Star State in a brand-new light.

Care to read the article? Here’s the link.