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My Current Top 5 Beers
1) Deschutes Brewery Red Chair NWPA: Step aside, Sierra Nevada Celebration. My new favorite hoppy winter seasonal hails from Deschutes. Red Chair pours out radiant copper, releasing a heady perfume of citrus and fresh-baked biscuits. It's a touch of spring in the depths of winter.
2) Allagash Coolship Cerise: I feel guilty writing about Cerise. The spontaneously fermented beer is bottled in insanely small batches and is only sold at the brewery in Portland, Maine. But if someone offers you a taste of Cerise, greedily accept it. Made with cherries, the beer is tart, fruity perfection.
3) The Alchemist Heady Topper: Ladies and gentlemen, meet the East Coast's answer to Russian River's Pliny the Elder. Vermont-brewed Heady is a dank, deeply resinous double IPA. It's a fresh, unfiltered exploration into the almighty power of hops.
4) Maine Beer MO: Over the last few years, this little Maine brewery has made big waves with its hop-forward ales such as Peeper and the resinous Lunch IPA. My pick? MO, a piney, citrusy pleasure with a surprisingly dry finish.
5) Smuttynose Wheat Wine: Forget barley wines: This winter, I'm drinking wheat wines, which are boozy beers made with a measure of smooth, calming wheat. Smuttynose's citrusy, vanilla-scented offering is among the best of the bunch. It drinks with a pinch of caramel sweetness, while crisp bitterness and smooth oak balance out this luscious slow sipper. One note: It gets even better with age.
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Hey, friends! Did I ever tell you that I’m on Instagram? If you’d like to join me on my my adventures in New York and around the world, including my delicious discoveries of food, beer, people and street art, you can follow my Instagram account (joshmbernstein) right . . . here.
Hey, fine beer drinkers. In honor of New York Craft Beer Week, we’re discounting my Craft Beer New York app to just $.99 until March 3. You can’t even buy a PBR for a buck, my friends. Nab my app here!
UPDATE: We still have a handful of tickets left, if you’d like to attend. Buy ‘em here. Sorry, we’re sold out.
In September 2009, the folks at NYC Beer Week asked me to lead a tour. I called a few homebrewer friends, set an itinerary and the Homebrew Tour was born. I thought it would be fun to give people a peek into their world, to let tour takers try these beers and learn what makes the brewers tick and decide to brew in these tiny, tiny apartments.
The tour was supposed to be a one-off. But after the first one, attendees asked, “When’s the next tour?” So I did a second tour, then a third tour, then dozens more. Which brings me to today.
For Jimmy’s Homebrew Jamboree, it’s time to return to my Beer Week roots. We’re taking over my favorite East Village bar, Jimmy’s No. 43, for their signature event of Beer Week. I’ve enlisted 14 of my favorite homebrewers to make special beers for the event. Expect double IPAs, hoppy red ales, saisons, stouts and a host of unusual—and unusually delicious—beers as well.
In addition to boatloads of beer, you’ll be well fed too. Jimmy’s is providing a smorgasbord of goodies including: black-and-tan griddle cakes, huevos rancheros, mini grilled cheese, sweet potato-and-bacon hash, ham biscuits with red-eye gravy and bánh mì biscuits.
Plus, Jimmy’s will have a special lineup of beers on tap available for purchase during and after the event. Attendees receive $1 off draft beers all night.
WHAT: Jimmy’s Homebrew Jamboree
WHEN: Saturday, March 2, 12 p.m.–3 p.m.
WHERE: Jimmy’s No. 43 (43 East Seventh Street, NY)
PURCHASE TICKETS: $35. Click here to buy them.
Last year, I did not ask for a shiny gadget or gewgaw for the holidays. Instead, I wished for a few corrections in America’s craft beer industry. While there are more than 2,100 breweries in the States and another thousand-plus in the planning stages, there’s always room for better beer. And happily, 2012 was a very good year for better beer.
Many of my wishes came true. Brewers began creating droves of flavorful, low-alcohol ales emphasizing balance, not bash-you-over-the-head flavor. (Witness the explosion of the session IPA category.) Breweries are increasingly dating their bottled beers, and Stone’s Enjoy By program is revolutionizing the notion of fresh beer. Old styles such as the grätzer are becoming more commonplace, and Twitter is de rigueur for any new brewery worth its salt. Beer is social. Social media is crucial for success.
Still, not every wish was fulfilled. Clean taps are still a concern, and many bar owners still embrace the better-is-more mentality of installing dozens of draft lines — and serving brews in penny-pinching 14-ounce “pint” glasses. And some beer drinkers still treat craft beer with a reverence that, much to my chagrin, calls to mind wine zealots. I’m a beer geek with the best of ’em, but a brew should accompany conversations, not dominate them. Here are my holiday wishes for the next year of craft beer: Continue reading
After many months, and many more beers, I’m pleased to announce the release of Craft Beer New York, the one-stop shop for all you need to know about drinking craft beer in New York City. The iPhone app is available from the App store for the low, low price of $1.99—in other words, far cheaper than your favorite craft beer. If you’re so inclined, check out the app here. It’ll be a handy tool next time you come to NYC. And on that note, I need a beer. Methinks I’ll have this one.
Photo: Chris Lehault, of the excellent site I Drunk That.
My liver has finally cried uncle. The culprit, as it is every fall, is the Great American Beer Festival. I liken the annual Denver celebration to the Super Bowl of Beer. It brings together nearly 600 breweries from across the country, who come to the Mile High City toting more than 2,700 IPAs, sour ales, barrel-aged imperial stouts and other delicious oddities. Can I interest you in Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat, a wheat ale flavored with apricot purée and incendiary Scotch bonnet peppers? Or perhaps you’d like RedRock Brewing’s Paardebloem, which is made with dandelion greens and wild Brettanomyces bacteria? And the Kudzu Porter from Back Forty Beer Company might interest you as well.
Brewers brought out their most wonderful beers this year, and I made it my point to drink as many as possible. You may call this drunkenness. I call it research. As I sipped my way through hundreds of beers — a beer drinker should swallow, not spit—a few trends began to take shape.
Once America’s favorite beverage, fall-friendly cider is making a big comeback. Just don’t call it “juice.”
America is a proud, beer-guzzling nation, but as recently as 150 years ago, the country’s preferred alcoholic quaff was cider.
While neither grapes nor grain grew well in the rocky New England soil, apple seeds brought over by Colonial settlers easily took root, providing plenty of fermentable raw ingredients. Cider was easily and cheaply produced, offering a hygienic alternative to often unsafe water.
Cider’s reign ended in the mid-nineteenth century, due to several factors: The temperance movement demonized excessive drinking, and German immigrants began making crisp, elegant lagers in the urban cities where they settled. (Cider production was confined to farms.) The final blow was Prohibition. When the sober blanket was lifted, “cider” became synonymous with “apple juice.”
Yet in recent years, America’s cider industry has undergone a revival, as farmers, former brewers, and fermentationists have begun creating flavorful ciders of uncommon complexity and, pleasantly, precious little sweetness. “There are so many similarities between cider and where craft beer was in the eighties,” says Greg Hall, who was formerly the boundary pushing brewmaster at Chicago’s Goose Island. Continue reading
It’s crazy sale day over at Amazon, where copies of my book on the craft beer revolution, Brewed Awakening, are discounted to $12.47 today. That. Is. Cheap. That’s 50 percent off the cover price. That’s so cheap, you can use the book as kindling! After you read it, of course. If you haven’t nabbed a copy yet, today’s the day to grab a book (click here for the crazy deal). Remember: Every book bought helps feed our shelter-rescue dog, Sammy! Look at those eyes. How can you say no?
After a crazy, winding year that saw me get married and release my first book, I need a break. Tomorrow, my wife and I are taking off to Thailand and Vietnam for a two-week, much-delayed honeymoon. Heavens to Betsy, I can’t wait to slurp some pho on the streets of Hanoi. Expect many, many stories of terrific food when I return. And very few stories of delicious beer. But snake wine? That’s a definite possibility.
For the holidays, I was asked to join a virtual potluck. Since the digital realm precludes me from bringing oodles of beer (which is my trademark!), I was partnered with a fellow writer and tasked to clack out a book review and a tasty, tasty recipe. Below, check out the links to more cookbooks and recipes. Remember, if you get hungry, it’s not my fault. Continue reading
Ladies and gentlemen, can you imagine a world without sandwiches? That would mean lunchboxes lacking PB&Js, delis deficient in turkey-and-Swiss, Cuban lunch counters lacking the Cubano—in short, a life not worth living. Luckily, that long-ago innovator took knife to loaf, slicing bread and paving the way for centuries of handheld edible innovation, which is proudly on display in Susan Russo’s sumptuously photographed The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches.
In this chunky cookbook, the San Diego–based author and brains behind Food Blogga delves deep into the sandwich universe. Smartly, she sprinkles in equal measures of history and trivia alongside the hundreds of recipes for double-handed delicacies ranging from New Orleans’ olive salad–slathered muffuletta to Chicago’s hot, juicy Italian beef—and even the Fluffernutter too.
While I consider myself sort of a resourceful, freeform sandwich maker (whatever’s in my fridge goes between two slices of bread), I was most captivated by the stories of regional delicacies such as the chow mein sandwich popular in New England and the spiedie. While the name may recall a tight-fitting swimsuit, the spiedie has its roots in spiedini: the Italian word for grilled skewered meat, seafood or vegetables. Slide the skewer into a submarine roll, and you’ll soon be eating the pride of Binghamton, New York.
Hungry yet? Try this easy, tasty recipe for one of my favorite calories-be-damned indulgences: the inside-out Jucy Lucy cheeseburger, which is the joy of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Continue reading