Tickets on Sale for Jimmy’s Homebrew Jamboree

Jimmy's Homebrew Jamboree
Last year’s Jamboree was a packed house. And awesome.

More than five years ago, I ran my first homebrew tour. Since then, I’ve watched New York City’s homebrew scene blow up, with many of my former hosts (Finback, SingleCut, Transmitter) going on to open up their own breweries. And more are on the way. To celebrate the bounty of local brewers, as well as get a sneak-peek at the next generation of brewery owners, I’ve organized Jimmy’s Homebrew Jamboree. The gist:  Every square inch of Jimmy’s No. 43 will be filled with homebrewers pouring their creations.

For the third edition, I’ve enlisted 16 of my favorite brewers (many of whom are planning to go pro) to make special beers for the event. Expect IPAs, double IPAs, Belgian ales, saisons, oatmeal stouts and the odd sour. The variety will be as endless as the beers are delicious.

In addition to unlimited beer, you’ll be well fed too. Jimmy’s is providing a smorgasbord of goodies including: mini cheeseburger sliders, kielbasa, Sigmund’s soft pretzels, grilled cheese and veggie tacos.

Tickets are limited and will sell out. Update: we’re sold out.

Event: Jimmy’s Homebrew Jamboree, Take Three
When: Saturday, February 21, 1 p.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Jimmy’s No. 43 (43 East 7th St.), East Village, Manhattan
Tickets: $35 until February 3. $40 afterward. Buy them here. Sorry, we’re sold out.

January Writing: The Round-up


Fine readers!

Another year has passed by, which is both awesome and terrifying. I’ve written thousands of words, helped raise our wee daughter from an infant to a toddler and crisscrossed the country on travel. I drank more beer than a man should drink in a year (thanks for the reminder, doc), suffered my fair share of hangovers and made many, many new friends. Beer people, y’all are good people. Anyhoo! Onward to 2015. But first, a look back at my final stories of 2014.

First We Feast, “Beer With Baby: Prost Keller Pils and Denver Beer Co.’s Incredible Pedal IPA”: Getting drunk in Denver with my daughter was a terrible idea.

First We Feast, “Beer With Baby: Deschutes Hop Trip”: Wet-hop beers are a lot like parenting.

First We Feast, “Beer With Baby: Sierra Nevada Wild Hop IPA: When your daughter is the Tasmanian Devil, you want to drink something wild. And strong.

Men’s Journal, “The Year in Beer, Wine, and Liquor”: The top trends and stories of 2014.

Men’s Journal, “Become a Craft Brewery Benefactor, Drink Better BeerHow crowdfunding is changing the beer landscape.

Men’s Journal, “The Eight Best Session Beers (Under 4 Percent Alcohol): How low can brewers go without sacrificing flavor?

Bon Appétit, “How Breweries Are Using Salt to Make Better Beer”: A little sprinkle is all you need.

Bon Appétit, “The State of the Beer Union: Why 2014 Was Such a Big Year for Brew”: Well, that title is pretty explanatory.

Bon Appétit, “Why You Should Be Drinking Peanut Butter Beer”: Darn Skippy.

Imbibe, “Going Grape”: Brewers are borrowing from wine’s playbook to create deliciously novel beers.

New York, “17 Local Beers That You Should Be Drinking”: The best and the brightest of New York City’s burgeoning beer scene.  

Departures, “Please Don’t Wine: Beer Pairings for Thanksgiving”: Saisons slay rich gravy.

Draft, “Counter Culture: The Weird Science of Jeff Mello”: Meet the man looking to collect yeast from every zip code in America.

October Writing Round-up

Drunken Vagrant_WriterOctober already, eh? These days are certainly disappearing in a beer-soaked whirlwind of hops, changing my daughter’s diapers and travel. So much travel! From Maine to Colorado, the last month has been crazy pants. Compound that with a cold, a case of food poisoning and walking Sammy Bernstein, and it’s been a busy slate. Through it all, I’ve been clacking out stories. Here’s a sampling of my latest stories. Happy reading. And drinking, too.

First We Feast, “Two Roads Lil’ Heaven”: Yup, I’m drinking session beers with my daughter.

Men’s Journal, “(Highly) Experimental Beer Styles Worth Trying”: At Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, there’s no shortage of odd beers.

Bon Appétit, “Why You Need to Drink Wet-Hopped Beers Right Now”: Beer today, gone tomorrow—my take on fall’s most ephemeral beer style.

 Bon Appétit, “How Much Is Too Much? More on America’s Surfeit of Craft Beer”: IPAs have become our country’s finest export.

Bon Appétit, “Surviving the Great American Beer Fest: Hoppy IPAs to Candy-Bar Beers”: Wandering around the GABF gives you a good chance to see which way America’s hoppy winds are blowing., “Color Correction: The Fall’s Beers Are Red, Not Brown”: Brown ales? Old news. This fall, it’s time to drink red IPAs.

Beer Connoisseur, “For the Love of Gourd”: Pumpkin beers have broken free from their seasonal shackles, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Wine Enthusiast, “A Grown-Up’s Guide to Oktoberfest”: You don’t have to get blindingly drunk to have a blast at Oktoberfest.


Introducing Brooklyn’s Threes Brewing

Threes Brewing’s head brewer, Greg Doroski

Threes Brewing’s head brewer, Greg Doroski

As recently as last year, you could count Brooklyn’s professional breweries with three fingers. There was Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint and KelSo—and there was nothing else. As the rest of America, from Alaska to Alabama, cultivated homegrown brewing scenes, Brooklyn built restaurants with affinities for exposed brick and heirloom potatoes, as well as bars serving drinks in mason jars.

Breweries required space, and space was a valuable Brooklyn commodity snapped up by condo developers. But where some saw daunting odds, others saw a return to normalcy. As recently as 1962, Brooklyn was cranking out 10 percent—10 percent!—of American beer. We made Rheingold, we made Schaefer, we made the country good and drunk. Now, breweries are slowly repopulating Kings County. In Greenpoint, there’s Dirck the Norseman and Keg & Lantern, while Carroll Gardens’ Other Half is hammering out hop bombs lickety-split.

Brooklyn’s breweries now have company, and the newest entrant—slated to open mid-October—is a brewpub named Threes. Like baklava, the name is multilayered. The first one is most obvious: the address is 333 Douglass Street, right off Fourth Avenue in the Gowanus. The second layer is the founding trio: Sycamore co-owner Justin Israelson, tech entrepreneur Josh Stylman and lawyer and playwright Andrew Unterberg. Lastly, there’s Threes’ mission. It’s by turns a brewpub and a coffee shop, but it’s also an event space, a future home to trees and hop trellises, bands, stroller-pushing parents (like me!), homebrewers and any ol’ Brooklynite who likes beer. Or cocktails. Or music. Yes, that’s more than three. But it’s tough to put a number on what the threesome aim to accomplish. Continue reading

Craft Beer: What Does It Mean?

Craft Beer_Imbibe Magazine
For this month’s cover story in Imbibe magazine, I investigate the “c” word—craft beer. What does it mean these days?

Thirty years ago, America’s beer market was basted in black-and-white. Big brewers like Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors cranked out masses-pleasing lagers. Nipping at their heels were little guys like Sierra Nevada, New Albion and Anchor, collectively known as “microbrewers.” Often packaged in brown bottles, their small-batch ales were rich in flavor, aroma and hue—a marked contrast to clear lagers.

These days, perception is no longer so easily colored. Breweries such as New Belgium and Brooklyn are no longer “micro,” a term that’s a ’90s relic like Reebok Pumps. Today, breweries both massive and minuscule, from Australia to Alaska, are craft brewers. Piney IPAs, aromatic witbiers and wild yeast–inoculated ales are their stock in trade—but so are crisp pilsners and lawnmower-friendly lagers, formerly megabrewers’ main domain. With sales of their once-dependable beers eroding, brewing behemoths have responded by buying or investing in established outfits like Blue Point and Terrapin, as well as releasing brews that could pass for craft in a blind taste test—and even besting craft beers in competitions. At the same time, the Brewers Association has continually tweaked its definition of “craft brewer,” leaving long-running breweries on the outside looking in. And as the industry ranks swell so do concerns about quality—the same issue that helped pop the ’90s bubble.

Care to read the tale? Check out the full story here.

August Articles: The Update

It’s time you had a beer. Willie approves. 

Howdy, friends. Summer has been a tilt-a-whirl of travel, from staying at a girls’ camp outside Portland, Maine, to riding on Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp bus in California, camping in Cooperstown, spending a week on Fire Island and, well, sleeping in a shack in Richmond, Virginia. Through all the travel, I’ve been writing like crazy. Seriously, I can’t remember a summer when I’ve penned so many stories.

That might explain why I really, really need a break. This Labor Day weekend, I’m looking forward to spending the majority of my time pants-less, drinking beer—which isn’t really so different from my day-to-day life, you know. Pants stifle creativity! Or maybe I’m just lazy. Which could also be the case.

Anyhoo! Without further ado, here are the highlights from my last few months of stories. Read away!

First We Feast, “Beer With Baby: Evil Twin Nomader Weisse”: Yup, I’m getting drunk with my daughter.

First We Feast, “Beer With Baby: Victory Summer Love”: Still getting drunk with my daughter.

First We Feast, “Beer With Baby: Modern Times Blazing World”: Man, how drunk can I get with my daughter?

Bon Appétit, “10 Great Beer Lover’s Hotels Across America, from Vermont to California”Drinking beer and passing out has never been simpler.

 Bon Appétit, “How (Good) American Beers Are (Finally) Conquering Europe”: IPAs have become our country’s finest export.

 Bon Appétit, “You Should Be Drinking These Belgian-Style Beers Right Now”: I also include a gose and a Berliner weisse. But still: start drinking.

Draft, “Metal Head: The Tale of Woody Chandler”: Pennsylvania’s Woody Chandler is on a quest to drink canned beer. All of them.

Wine Enthusiast, “America’s Five Best Beer Cities”: Want to get people riled up? Make a list. And don’t include their city.

Men’s Journal, “Sierra Nevada Beer Camp”: I rode on the bus. And drank so, so much beer.

Imbibe, “What Does Craft Really Mean”: My cover story tackles the thorny question: What does craft beer really mean these days?   

The Evolution of American IPAs

If there’s an archetype of American craft brewing, it’s the IPA. The cult of the bitter beer grew quickly, and brewers responded by cranking IPAs to 11, devising increasingly intense and pungent brews that, in equal measures, both pleasured and punished palates. But things are starting to change. “There was a period where putting 300 calculated IBUs [international bittering units, an estimated measure of bitterness] into a beer was the thing,” says Stone Brewing brewmaster Mitch Steele. “Now, brewers are exploring more nuanced ways to use hops.”

As America’s craft-beer scene has evolved, so has its approach to the IPA. Breweries such as Sierra NevadaVictory and New Belgium are turning to newfangled, heavily juicy, tropical American hop cultivars such as Mosaic, El Dorado and Citra, as well as German—yes, German—varieties such as the honeydew-like Hull Melon and Bavarian Mandarina. Freshness initiatives and education are rising, helping drinkers enjoy IPAs as bright and aromatic as the day they were bottled. And brewers are packing low-alcohol beers full of hop aroma and flavor, birthing summer’s hottest trend: the session IPA, as exemplified by Stone Go To, Drake’s Alpha Session and Easy Jack from Firestone Walker.

For Imbibe, I took a deep dive into the changing face of the IPA. Care to read the full story? Check it out right about…here.