Category Archives: Beer

Brooklyn’s New Brewing Kings

Torst Evil TwinEvil Twin and Tørst’s Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø. Photo: Sam Horine

For the summer issue of Draft magazine, I was able to tackle a subject very close to my heart: Brooklyn’s beer scene. Used to be, the beer scene in my home borough was a bit of a joke, a wan copy of brewing culture in Portland, Denver or San Francisco. Over the last few years, though, I’ve watched as King County’s beer culture has blossomed, with wildly ambitious bottle shops and bars such as Williamsburg’s Beer Street and Greenpoint’s Tørst capturing the interest of drinkers from both near and far. And with Brooklyn’s first brewpub, Dirk the Norseman, on deck along with a raft of new breweries such as EST and the Kings County Brewers Collective, it’s a great time to drink beer in New York. Check out my full story over at Draft‘s website or in print.

Say Hello to Brooklyn’s Grimm Artisanal Ales

Grimm

One fortuitous day in Providence, Rhode Island, artists Lauren Carter Grimm and Joe Grimm decided to attend a talk by fermentation evangelist Sandor Katz, the author of Wild Fermentation. Though the DIY duo had never given much thought to the culture of fermentation, they were so inspired by Katz’s talk that, soon after leaving, “we started fermenting everything,” says Joe, a musician who has performed with the Dirty Projectors, 33.3 and solo as The Wind-Up Bird. “It was like, ‘We can pickle that!’”

Soon, the twosome were dabbling in mead (“It was really bad,” Lauren recalls), kvass, kombucha and hard cider, before gravitating toward beer. At first, the extract-based brews were pretty sad, the sort of beer you’d drink only if the fridge were empty. And perhaps the experiments would’ve ended there, the brew kettles put into a closet to gather dust if it were not for another serendipitous turn of events. While on tour in Brussels, Belgium, Grimm was introduced to dubbels, tripels, saisons, lambics. “People were feeding us all these wonderful Belgian beers,” recalls Joe, who returned home with a renewed commitment to brewing.

The couple moved to Chicago, where they both attended the Art Institute of Chicago and refined their approach to fashioning saisons and Belgian ales flavored with herbs, spices and flowers. Seeking an outlet for their beer, they started a beer CSA. It failed. “No one wanted to pick up their beer,” Lauren says. Unbowed, they started selling beer at art-gallery shows and continued refining their recipes. After Joe (2009) and Lauren (2010) graduated, the couple, who later married, watched as their friends flew the Windy City coop to New York City. They followed suit, landing in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood with a plan to start a brewery called Grimm Artisanal Ales.

They met with lenders for funding, but quickly ran into a small problem. They had no sales record, much less experience working at a brewery. But Joe did toil at Double Windsor, and he and Lauren mined their local contacts and began making the rounds of New York bars to gin up interest. “People were like, ‘That’s really cute. Sure, we’ll put the beer on.’” But first they needed to brew the beer. Without the funds to build their own facility, they decided to go the nomadic route, tenant brewers in the vein of fellow husband-wife brewers Pretty Things. They began calling breweries around the region. The no’s stacked up like chips at a poker table.

At last, Holyoke, Massachusetts’ Paper City Brewing Company said yes. Last month, Team Grimm traveled to the brewery and crafted From the Hip, a Belgian-style blonde ale (7 percent ABV)  flavored with plenty of rose hips. It’s floral and spicy, with a smooth mouthfeel and billowy head thanks to a healthy measure of wheat. Starting later this month, the beer will be available around town on draft and in 22-ounce bottles adorned with a delicate, gallery-worthy drawing depicting ladies with roses blooming from their bodies. “They’re the sort of graphics you’d find on an ancient Greek vase,” says Lauren, who notes that they’re trying to combat the notion that beer should just be marketed to men.

While it is the inaugural release, From the Hip is not a flagship. In fact, Grimm’s plan is to not to toss all their hops into one brew kettle. Instead, they’re focusing on releasing limited-edition, seasonally focused beers with a Belgian bent. (Up next is a Trappist-style tripel made with honey called Bees in the Trappe.) Blink and you’ll miss the chance to drink them. “We wanted to make very specific beers that we enjoy and grow the definition of craft beer,” Joe says. “The world doesn’t need us to make another IPA.”

On July 18 at 5 p.m., From the Hip will debut at Jimmy’s No. 43. On July 19 at 7 p.m., From the Hip will appear on tap The Double Windsor.

Florida: No Longer a Backwater for Craft Beer

7-feature_florida-beers_cycle-brewing_400x600Photo: Michael Donk/Cycle Brewing

For my newest Saveur story, I tackle the thorny question: Why has the Florida beer scene been so bad for so long? While the Sunshine State has long been known for its beaches and amusement parks, beer was always an afterthought, save for the Coronas crammed in coolers. But now the craft beer wave is sweeping across the state, which currently counts some of the country’s most exciting breweries.

In Gainesville, Swamp Head uses local ingredients like Tupelo honey to make balanced beers suited for a humid climate, while Boca Raton’s Funky Buddha knocks out novelties such as No Crusts, a peanut butter and jelly­–flavored brown ale. Tampa’s Cigar City turns out terrific barrel-aged beers, and Dunedin’s 7venth Sun is earning plaudits for its tart, German-style Berliner weisses flavored with local tropical fruit, a style that’s swiftly becoming a state favorite.

Curious about the rise of Florida beer? Check out my story over at Saveur.

At the Table: The Rise of Food-Friendly Beers

tablebeer

Last year, an Arizona mom eating at a pizzeria made headlines when she allegedly filled her son’s sippy cup with beer. Outrage was immediate. So was her arrest. While we’re not advocating getting a toddler trashed, it’s interesting how one nation’s indignation is another country’s tradition.

French families often pour their children watered-down wine, educating them about respecting alcohol and its polite place in everyday life. While neighboring Belgium is not so wild for wine, families also teach their offspring a similar lesson with tafelbier—Flemish for “table beer.” Traditionally served with meals, tafelbiers are light-bodied and low in alcohol (usually less than 3% ABV), yet still remain flavorful. While table beers were so prevalent that they used to be served to Belgian schoolchildren in lieu of milk, the lightly boozy tradition has waned in recent years due to the rise of bottled water and, more prevalently, soft drinks.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, American brewers have begun to take a keen interest in crafting low-ABV tafelbiers. They’re affable companions to lunch, dinner or whenever you crave a beer but not a buzz. In Indiana, New Albanian offers Tafelbier, while California’s Heretic makes the slightly stronger Tafelbully with Brettanomyces. The wild yeast also appears in Stillwater Artisanal Ales’ earthy, refreshing Beer Table Table Beer, while Massachusetts’ session beer–focused Notch Brewing dials up Belgian yeast and European hops for its Tafelbier. It’s a style-appropriate 2.8% ABV, a low number that appeals to Notch’s brewer, Chris Lohring.

“For me, it’s the ultimate anytime beer,” says Lohring, who sees tafelbier as an ideal accompaniment to outdoor sports or daylong barbecuing. While his dry, thirst-quenching Tafelbier packs flavor aplenty, the dainty ABV means “you have to drink serious volume to get inebriated.”

Curious? Check out the rest of my article in Draft magazine.

Announcing My Next Book: The Complete Beer Course

CBC_CoverComplete Beer Course is due out September 3.

It’s the best time in history to be a beer drinker. It’s also the most confusing time. Stroll into any craft-beer bar or beer distributor, and you’re forced to sift through a dizzying array of dozens, if not hundreds, of singular brews. A marketplace of overwhelming choice can lead to paralysis and settling for the same old, same old. Repetition can be comforting, which is why I always purchase the same pair of jeans at the department store.

Do not make the same mistake with craft beer, where curiosity rewards the intrepid imbiber. That’s the philosophy behind my newest book, The Complete Beer Course, in which I demystify beer, elementally breaking down the grains, yeast, hops, and techniques that cause beer’s flavor to spin into thousands of distinctively delicious directions.

After outfitting you with the tools to taste, smell, and evaluate brews, the book will lead you on a flavorful trek through the most critical styles of beer. Structured around a series of easy-to-follow classes, you’ll hop from lagers and pilsners to hazy wheat beers, Belgian-style abbey and Trappist ales, aromatic pale ales and bitter IPAs, roasty stouts, barrel-aged brews, belly-warming barley wines, and mouth-puckering sour ales. Through a sequence of suggested, targeted tastings, you’ll learn which flavors are appropriate, and which ones signify that you should dump those beers down a drain. Simply put, you’ll be able to walk into nearly every bottle store or bar in the world and, with confidence, order just about any beer in the coolers or on tap.

I’m incredibly proud of The Complete Beer Course, which has been a crazy labor of love for the last two years. My publisher, Sterling Epicure, will release my book this September. (It will be out a few months before my other baby—my first child—is due to be born. It’s going to be a crazy fall.) If you’d like to pre-order a copy at a discounted price, Amazon and Barnes & Noble already have my book on sale. 

Drink the Devil’s Plaything at Salvation Taco

Devil's PlaythingThe Devil’s Plaything, a spicy, citrusy IPA brewed by Greenport Harbor.

When I was a kid I feverishly collected baseball cards, spending my allowance on Donruss, Topps and Upper Deck packs in search of, say, a Ken Griffey, Jr., rookie. As the years disappeared, my accumulations switched to CDs and buttons, before settling on today’s primary fixation: beer. My days are spent seeking out novel new flavors, maybe a beer flavored with mustard seeds or oysters—even the Rocky Mountain variant.

Though I do savor trying new flavors, I don’t want to dedicate all my waking hours (and income) to acquiring lusted-after ales such as Three Floyds’ Dark Lord Imperial Stout or the Alchemist’s Heady Topper. After all, there’s plenty of unusual, singular beer awaiting at bars and restaurants around New York City.

To both facilitate finely tuned food pairings and set themselves apart, haunts around New York have partnered with breweries to craft exclusive, one-of-a-kind beers. Head to Shake Shack, and you can have Brooklyn Brewery’s biscuity ShackMeister amber ale, while Astoria’s Strand Smokehouse has Hank, a juniper berry–spiced lager developed by SingleCut Beersmiths

Still, perhaps New York’s biggest proponents of proprietary beer are restaurateur Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield, who helm some of the city’s hottest restaurants: gastropub trailblazer the Spotted Pig, the carnivore-focused Breslin, seafood-centric John Dory Oyster Bar and madcap Mexican Salvation Taco. Though all the cuisines and concepts are distinct, the common thread is a commitment to offering a specially designed house beer.

“For us, it’s a nice way to provide guests with something different,” says Bill Brooks, The Breslin Bar & Dining Room’s beer manager. “I really like going to craft beer bars and seeing what’s new.”

If you head to the Breslin and Spotted Pig, you can sample Brooklyn Brewery’s British-inspired Spotted Pig Bitter. (The Breslin also serves the aromatic, Captain Lawrence–crafted Revolutionary Sweetheart.) At the John Dory you’ll find Sixpoint‘s Oyster Stout, which is made with plenty of the restaurant’s leftover bivalve shells (they add an appealing minerality), as a well a refreshing blonde ale brewed in conjunction with Syracuse’s Empire.

But with summer weather settling into the city, methinks you’ll want to beeline to Salvation Taco’s rooftop to try the restaurant group’s latest proprietary beer: Greenport Harbor‘s Devil’s Plaything, a citrusy IPA flavored with limes, oranges, dried Haitian bitter orange segments and chiles. “Instead of going the historical route, we thought about taking a style of beer that we really like and tweak it,” says Brooks, who worked on the beer with ST’s beverage director Sam Anderson.

The project was born out of admiration. Brooks had long been a fan of Greenport’s hoppy ales, such as the Black IPA, Citrus IPA and bright, balanced Otherside IPA. So when Brooks was batting around ideas with Anderson about making an IPA syrup for cocktails with Serrano chiles, the right brewery for the project was a no-brainer.

“I called up John [Liegey, Greenport Harbor’s cofouder and -owner) and said, ‘We’ve got a crazy idea for a beer at the rooftop of the Taco,’” Brooks recalls. Greenport Harbor was game to fashion its first proprietary beer, cranking out a 60-barrel batch (enough to ensure a steady supply deep into the summer). At the end of May, Devil’sPlaything debuted at Salvation Taco’s sky-scraping lounge atop the Pod 39 Hotel.

While the sessionable IPA (5.2 percent ABV) is an ideal thirst-quencher on a mercury-spiking afternoon (like, say, today), it pulls double duty in the dining department, going divinely with tacos. The devil, they say, is in the details.

Devil’s Plaything is available for $8 at Salvation Taco. You can also found it on tap at Greenport Harbor’s tasting room. This story originally appeared on my Craft Beer New York app.

Cream Ales Are on the Rise

IM43_Feature-creamales

In the May/June issue of Imbibe, I investigate the rebirth of that misunderstood American original, the cream ale—a style that, contrary to its name, contains no dairy.

The style gained popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as ale breweries in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region looked to compete with ascendant lager breweries. By fermenting ales at cooler temperatures, brewers created crisper, cleaner, less fruity beers that were more in line with pale lagers. The hybridized specialty soldiered on after Prohibition before largely falling out of favor by the 1970s and ’80s.

After decades of disinterest, cream ales are once again rising as American brewers have begun embracing the style. In Rhode Island, Narragansett Beer recently revived its iconic Cream Ale, and North Carolina’s Fullsteam uses local barley and grits in its El Toro cream ale. Oregon’s Pelican Brewery found a flagship in its floral Kiwanda Cream Ale, and New Glarus’ Spotted Cow is one of Wisconsin’s top-selling draft beers. For other brewers, the cream ale is a springboard to innovation. Wisconsin’s Furthermore mixes apple cider and cream ale to create Fallen Apple, while last year Florida’s Cigar City released El Murciélago, a double cream ale spiced with cumin and lime peel and aged in tequila barrels.

Care to read the rest of my story? Check it online in Imbibe.

 

Hey, NYC: It’s Time to Drink Schlafly, Pyramid and Wild Onion

Schlafly-beer-truckPhoto: SixPackTech.com

So far, this has been a very good year for New York craft beer. New breweries such as SingleCut, Radiant Pig and Bridge and Tunnel are pumping out lip-smacking local beer, while taverns such as Tørst, Skinny Dennis and Dead Rabbit  are raising the bar on, well, bars.

While I’ve been so focused on the city’s homegrown talent, I’ve barely noticed the slow, steady wave of beers flowing into town. It’s time to take pause and recognize the newcomers to our fair metropolis. Here are three of the newest breweries to know and, more importantly, drink.

Wild Onion Brewery
Head northwest of Chicago and you’ll hit Lake Barrington, Illinois, which since 1996 has been home to Wild Onion. The brewery and brewpub may lack the Midwest cachet of, say, Goose Island, but Wild Onion cranks out dependable, session-focused beers sold by the can. With the weather starting to heat up, you’ll want to start with the orange peel–driven Summer Wit or the well-hopped Paddy Pale Ale. Don’t worry, double IPA junkies: the Hop Slayer will soothe your bitter heart.

Pyramid Breweries
Pyramid is one of the sage old brands of the craft beer revolution, having been born way back in 1984 as Kalama, Washington‘s Hart Brewing. After the early ’90s success of its Apricot Ale, which helped kick off the burgeoning fruit-beer category, Hart rebranded itself as Pyramid—named after its flagship Pyramid family of beers.  Though the brewery is now owned by Cerveceria Costa Rica, Pyramid still makes dependably delicious beers such as the refreshing Hefeweizen, floral Thunderhead IPA and the Outburst Imperial IPA, which is flavored with of-the-moment Falconer’s Flight hops.

Schlafly
While St. Louis may be synonymous with Budweiser (well, before Anheuser-Busch was bought by a sprawling international company), the city’s most beloved brewery might just be Schlafly. Since 1991, the independent craft brewery has won over the local citizenry with its stellar lineup that ranges from a delicately fruity Kölsch to a silky, coffee-influenced Oatmeal Stout, aromatic Dry Hopped APA. Add to that an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels and one of my favorite barrley wines in the county and you’ll understand why Midwest expats celebrated the brand’s May arrival. Schlafly is one of America’s most versatile, vastly underappreciated breweries.

This story was originally published on my Craft Beer New York app. Click here to check it out.

Amateur Hour Is Over: NYC Homebrewers Go Pro—Sort of

Chris Cuzme508 brewer Chris Cuzme rocking his trademark T-shirt. (Credit: 508)

Most brewers get start cooking batches on their stoves, turning out ales and lagers that, once recipes are perfected, can be just as good as anything on tap at a local bar. Not that you’ll ever find a homebrewer’s creations on draft—legally, at least.

The legalities surrounding selling homebrewed beer are as clear as Bud Light. When President Jimmy Carter legalized homebrewing in the late seventies, he allowed folks to brew up to 100 gallons of beer a year. Many brewers slosh over the threshold, but it’s unlikely that cops will come knocking. That’d only happen if homebrewers sold their tipples. There’s a defined line separating amateurs and professionals: Are they selling beer and paying their taxes?

Vending beer is a tangled web of regulations wrapped around the three-tier system, in which breweries sell to distributors, which then peddle to stores and bars. Taxes are collected at every step. Plus, there’s the cost of acquiring a federal permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. It’s a pain in the butt to sell a pal a growler.

However, no law prohibits a brewery from producing a semi-pro’s recipe. “I want people to realize that homebrewers can make high-quality beer,” says Chris Cuzme, the former president of the New York City Homebrewers Guild, co-host of Fuhmentaboudit! and, most importantly, the head brewer at SoHo’s 508 GastroBrewery. “The homebrew scene still has a big place in my heart,” Cuzme says. “We have so many more homebrew clubs now, but even then, people don’t know that many of them exist.”

To raise awareness, Cuzme will partners with a different homebrew club or shop each month and craft a 50-gallon batch of beer, which will then be poured through one of the brewpub’s six tap lines. The first six collaborators are the New York City Homebrewers GuildPour Standards—Richmond County Brew Society, Brooklyn Brewsers Homebrew ClubBitter & Esters, The Brooklyn Kitchen and Brooklyn Homebrew, which will brew the first beer in the series next week. (The exact style is still undecided, but the odds-on favorite is that it will be an ESB.)

There are no limitations on the beers that will be brewed, except that Cuzme would like them to be brewed and ready to drink within a month. That means no barrel-aged imperial stouts. But with the weather breaking warm, I doubt you’ll want to drink such a bruiser. After each beer is brewed, Cuzme plans on holding a five-gallon keg in reserve for a “homebrew heavyweight tap takeover,” which will take place at the end of the six-month project. And if supporting your favorite local homebrew is not enough to get you to pop by 508 for a pint, here’s another reason: one dollar of every beer will be earmarked to the collaborators’ charity of choice.

We’ll drink to that.

The first beer in the series should be on tap at 508 by June 1. 

 More NYC Homebrewing News of Note
* This spring, Brooklyn Brew Shop plans to go pro with its EST line of beers. (The name is short for Established Brewing Company.) First up is a spicy Jalapeño Saison, a homebrew-kit favorite.

* On May 18, the Comedy Bar NYC will tap a new monthly series dubbed the Homebrewed MicProduced and hosted by comedian Ben Asher and The Brahery, the free show will partner plenty of homebrewed beer with comedy and brew-centric tunes from Final Gravity. I’ve hosted the Brahery on my homebrew tour and heard the band bash out tunes. At best, it’ll be a blast. At worst, you’ll get drunk. It’s a win-win.

This story was originally published on my Craft Beer New York app. Buy it here.

A New Homebrew Festival Grows in Brooklyn

156340_582641035082597_1455230532_nOver the last four years of running my homebrew tours, I’ve watched Brooklyn’s DIY beer scene boom. Where once aspring apartment brewers were forced to order grains and hops online or drive into Long Island, now there’s a bounty of brew shops such as Bitters & Esters, Brooklyn Homebrew and Brooklyn Kitchen, all of which stocks ingredients and offer classes.

This has led to a swell of brewers in Brooklyn and across the city, with kegerators crammed into every nook and cranny. Now, the best thing about homebrewing is sharing it with your friends. But if you’re brewing two or three times a month, that’s a fair amount of five-gallon batches of beer taking up space in too-tiny apartments. And even if your friends are lushes, there’s a limit to everyone’s beer intake. The solution, then, is a homebrew festival.

The latest one to arrive is Pride of Brooklyn, which will debut this Saturday, April 27, at Gowanus’ Littlefield. The festival will feature 25 New York–based homebrewers, as well as pro offerings from Lagunitas, SingleCut and the brand-new Yonkers Brewing Company.

The mastermind behind the homebrew madness is Casey Soloff, an advertising copywriter who has been brewing beer for about a year. “I know a lot of good people in the homebrewing community,” says Soloff, a Brooklyn resident. “I put out a call a call for entries and people responded almost immediately.”

The homebrewers will pour a variety of ales and lagers, including the likes of a pilsner, rye black IPA, spiced milk stout and cherrywood-smoked porter—in other words, you won’t go home thirsty or bored. Additionally, there will be food for purchase from Fletcher’s and Mexicue, and attendees get $2 off drafts at Mission Dolores until 8 p.m.

Come get a taste of the next generation of New York City brewers.

Pride of Brooklyn Homebrew Festival
Saturday, April 27, 1 to 5 p.m.
Littlefield (622 Degraw Street, Gowanus, 718-855-3388)
Tickets: $25 (buy them here)

This post originally appeared on my app, Craft Beer New York.

Shiner Bock Arrives in New York City

ShinerBock_Dog
Over the last couple years, New York has grown into a rather respectable BBQ town. From Fette Sau to Mighty Quinn’s, BrisketTown and John Brown Smokehouse, there’s a serious commitment to ‘cue. Despite the surplus of carnivorous pleasures, there’s been a notable absence from New York’s BBQ scene: Shiner Bock.

The beer’s origins date back to the 19th century, when German and Czech immigrants came to the Hill Country of central Texas and settled in tiny towns such Shiner. They brought the knowledge to crank sausages and smoke meat—the backbone of the state’s BBQ culture—as well as a love of lagers. To quench that thirst, a group of amateur brewers formed the Shiner Brewing Association in 1909, later tapping a former German solider named Kosmos Spoetzl as their first brewmaster.

In time, the flagship was the rich, smooth and eminently drinkable Shiner Bock. At just 4.4% ABV, it was the sort of beer that could slake your thirst on a sweltering summer afternoon, then continue to drink until last call. Shiner Bock and Texas became forever linked, the longneck you’d reach for while gnawing on brisket, watching football or catching a concert. 

Sure, Shiner Bock endured some rocky stretches (Prohibition, the 197os when tastes started shifting to light lagers), but the beer survived to become Texas’ liquid emissary. Today you’ll find Shiner Bock in more than 40 states including, at long last, New York.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand for Shiner beer,” says Charlie Paulette, the chief sales and marketing officer for Gambrinus Company, which also owns Trumer Pils and BridgePort. (There are no imminent plans to bring those brands to NYC, but it’s a possibility in the future.) “In New York, we have a nice built-in audience of people from Texas or who have been through Texas.”

Of course, that’s always been the case. New York is a town of transplants and transients, all of whom long for a nostalgic taste of their respective hometowns. A key reason that Shiner has taken so long to reach NYC is simple: capacity. If you’re going to enter the Big Apple market, you better have enough beer.

“New York is a very intimidating place for any brand,” Paulette says. “For us, it was a matter of getting ready.” A few years back, Spoetzl embarked on a big expansion, building a brewery dedicated to producing ales. This has enabled Spoetzl to expand the Shiner brand, including Hefeweizen, Wild Hare Pale Ale, Bohemian Black Lager and Ruby Redbird, which is made with grapefruit and ginger. 

“We’re about more than just Shiner Bock,” Paulette says. “Our portfolio is so much more diverse than it was 10 years ago.” Of course, you can find Shiner at BBQ halls such as Hill Country, but it’s also pouring at Manchester Pub, 7B, Sunswick 35/35, Good Beer and Minetta Tavern. In time, I’m sure you’ll take a shine to these Texan beers.

This story was originally published on Craft Beer New York.

The Bronx Brewery Breaks Out With New Cans

Bronx PaleDoug Schneider Photography 

I used to have an alcoholic roommate who loved nothing more than sipping 16-ounce cans of crappy American beer by the six-pack. “Come on, put a pint in your palm,” he’d say, passing me Bud or Coors or whatever was cheapest at the corner bodega.

Who was I to turn down free beer? I’d join him in drinking one 16-ounce can after another. He’d continue to six, sometimes 12, multiplying his hangover with each emptying can. I would tap out at four pints. Four was a respectable number of pints, the perfect amount to sip and not spend the next morning crunching Tylenol as if it were candy.

Methinks New York’s craft beer industry also understands the power of four. The last few years have seen local darlings Sixpoint strike it big with their striking, cube-shape four-packs of pint cans. Most every bar and bodega worth its salt stocks them in their coolers. Now, this week marks the arrival of the city’s next cube of craft beer: Bronx Pale Ale.

Over the last year, Bronx Brewery has carved out a swell little spot for itself with its variations on the pale ale theme. There’s the Black Pale Ale, Rye Pale, Belgian Pale Ale and a host of other barrel-aged one-offs. But everything circles back to the easy-drinking base beer that’s doctored with plenty of citrusy, floral Centennial and Cascade hops. To date, the beer has only been available on draft.

“Growlers are really expanding, but they’re not ubiquitous,” says Bronx Brewery general manager Chris Gallant. “Cans give people the ability to take the beer home with them.”

To make that a reality, the brewery began searching for a canning facility, settling on City Brewing’s La Crosse, Wisconsin, plant. Head brewer Damian Brown headed to Wisconsin to make sure the facility had the recipe nailed down, then the 16-ounce cans started rolling off the line. Continue reading