Today’s tour will be a doozy and, for some of you, take you places you’ve never been in New York. We’re going to start in Roosevelt Island at the home of Brian Craine, who makes IPAs that’ll knock your socks off. Next, we’re going to take the tram (!) to Manhattan, then catch a bus to the Upper East Side. There, we’re going to visit The Brahery–that is, Marc Gorfinkle and Andrew Blazaitis, who have a top-notch brown IPA and several golden strong ales. In addition, I’m going to break out the just-released batch of Sam Adams’ head-spinning Utopias. Lastly, were going to stroll around the corner to visit Kyle Leingang, who will have treats like a rye-infused Belgian tripel and maple-pecan barley wine.
WHAT: Manhattan and Roosevelt Island Homebrew Tour
WHEN: Saturday, December 8, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Manhattan and Roosevelt Island
$30. Tickets to go on sale Tuesday, November 13, 11 a.m. Um, tickets sold out in 30 minutes. That was fast.
Chelsea brewmaster brewmaster Mark Szmaida. Photo: Scott Gordon Bleicher
* Note: This story was originally published in the January/February issue of Edible Manhattan.
If you liked mediocre craft beer, the mid ’90s were a marvelous time in Manhattan. Caught up in the brewpub craze then sweeping the country, there was SoHo’s Nacho Mama’s Brewery, the British-inspired Commonwealth Brewing Company in Rockefeller Plaza and, in Midtown, the pseudo-Asian Typhoon, to name just a few—all serving New Yorkers so-so housemade suds.
Like many fads of the time—Riot Grrrls, pagers—brewpubs quickly passed. Due to poor-quality ales, poor ownership and outlandish rents—or a combination of all three—tap lines went dry, one by one. Admittedly, these early pints poured the foundation for our current craft coming-of-age—back then most city drinkers still preferred Miller, Coors or Bud—but no self-respecting contemporary brew hound would be caught dead with one of those amber ales in hand. When the foam finally subsided at the end of the decade, only a single brewery still made beer on the Island. “We’ve survived it all,” says Mark Szmaida, 57, the head brewer at Chelsea Brewing Company, which opened on the Hudson River-hugging Chelsea Piers at 18th Street in 1996. Szmaida is referring not just to the movement’s demise, but also to his own brand’s expensive misstep into bottling beers (more on that later); the post–9/11 days when the piers were used as a staging ground by the city; and Arctic winter weeks on the waterfront when both the temperature and customers slip into the single digits. Perhaps the place still exists because, unlike most other brewpubs, at Chelsea the focus was always on the beer: quality Manhattan-made craft ales like the thirst-quenching, easy-drinking Checker Cab Blonde—now seen on draft menus citywide—or the caramel-licked Sunset Red, a brew so good it won a gold medal in 1997 at Denver’s prestigious Great American Beer Festival. Continue reading
Photo: Sam Horine
I am a man filled with many bad ideas, but this may have been the worst: spend the day carousing Manhattan, eating nothing bu slices of pizza that cost a buck. The adventure was for my Metromix Dollar Grub column, a moment of low-cost inspiration I’m still ruing all these years later. Want to see me go from hungry to queasy? Check out the full story at Metromix. Eat it up!
One of the 2nd Ave Deli’s monstrous sandwiches. Photo: Flickr/rikomatic
In this week’s issue of Time Out New York, I turned my appetite to the pleasures of sliced bread. I run down some of Manhattan’s best sandwiches, from the corned-beef delights of the 2nd Ave Deli (where my grandfather once toiled at the original location) to a deconstructed General Tso’s Tofu served up by mad toque Tyler Kord at No. 7 Sub. The drool-worthy slide show awaits here.