November Writing: The Overdue Round-up

alcohol

Hey friends, it’s been a roller coaster of a couple months, skittering across the country to drink my body weight in double IPAs while, well, promoting Complete IPA.  In the meantime, I’ve been writing. Words. So many words! So many words about beer! And life! And how it all fits in together. Below, here’s a smattering on what I’ve published over the last three or four months. Bored? You’re in luck! these stories should ably waste a few minutes of your day.

Imbibe, “Old News”:  Craft brewers are reviving ancient styles to set themselves apart.

Imbibe, “Like a Good Neighbor”: Local breweries are becoming the essential neighborhood hubs.

Draft, “Love Bites”: How Mekelburg’s became a Brooklyn beer and gourmet mecca.

Men’s Journal, “Our Next Vice President’s Favorite Place to Drink”: Hint: It’s in Virginia.

Men’s Journal, “What Was the Last Beer That Blew Your Mind?”: It’s a telephone game of deliciousness.

Men’s Journal, “How to Survive a Summer Vacation With Your Kids”: Drink?

Men’s Journal, “The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Summer Wine”

Wine Enthusiast, “A Fresh Guide to Hops in Beer”: Become an instant expert on beer’s most prized flowers. Wet, fresh or dried, know the difference and discover essential hop varieties.

Wine Enthusiast, “Yeast Mode”: Think only hops and grains guide beer’s flavor? You’re overlooking a crucial tastemaker.

Eater, “Beer Review: Evil Twin Sour Bikini Tastes Like Liquid Flintstones Vitamins

Eater, “Beer Review: Allagash’s Little Brett Takes a Walk on the Wild Side”

Eater, “Beer Review: Starr Hill Four Kings IPA Variety Pack” 

Eater, “Why You Should Drink House Beer” 

BeerAdvocate Magazine, “The Imitation Game”: How brewers create consistency across a range of different facilities.

Bon Appétit, “Six Beer Trends to Look Out for in 2017”: Here’s why you’ll fall into lager.

Bon Appétit, “Maple Syrup Is Surprisingly Delicious in Beer”: It is!

Bon Appétit, “IPAs for People Who *Think* They Hate Them”:  Bye-bye, bitterness.

Bon Appétit, “You’re Either Going to Love or Loathe Cucumber Beer”:  Where do you sit on the fence?

Bon Appétit, “An Ode to Pilsners”:  Why should be crushing these crazy refreshers.

Culture, “Cheese + Beer: Saison”: Pairing cheese with spring saisons is a boss move.

Culture, “Cheese + Beer: Cream Ales”:  Or maybe you’d favor a crisp, slightly cream ale.

First We Feast, “8 Common IPA Myths, Debunked” 

Announcing: Can Jam at Threes Brewing

canjam

WHAT: Can Jam
WHERE: Threes Brewing (333 Douglass St.), Gowanus, Brooklyn
WHEN: Sunday, November 6, 12 p.m.– 5 p.m.

New York City breweries make some of the Northeast’s best IPAs. Cracking into an aluminum-clad double IPA, however, often requires traveling directly to every brewery and waiting in line.

Today you don’t need to wait.

To celebrate my latest book, Complete IPA, we’ve corralled fresh canned IPAs from 11 of the area’s best IPA breweries, counting Other Half, Grimm, Finback, KCBC, Interboro, and more. Cans will be sold in the backyard, where I’ll sign copies of my book and gawk in terror and wonder at the beer-bong competition.

I repeat, we will have a beer bong.

The event is free to attend. Cans are only available for on-site consumption, though we will have a limited number of book-and-beer gift packs available to go.

P.S. Want extra reason to celebrate? It’s the NYC Marathon, which will sprint past on nearby Fourth Avenue.
Beer List (to date):

** Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.: Flannel Shirt (Red IPA)
** Grimm Artisanal Ales: Tesseract (Double IPA)
** 
Interboro NYC: The Next Episode (Double IPA)
** Gun Hill Brewing Company: Roll Call: EC3 (East Coast IPA)
** LIC Beer Project: Backjump
** Kings County Brewers Collective: Robot Fish #1 and Robot Fish #2 (Session IPAs)
** Finback Brewery: Chromoscope (Double IPA dry-hopped with Simcoe) / Cell (IPA dry-hopped with Citra)
** Other Half Brewing Company / Trillium Brewing Company Like Whoa (Double IPA)
** Threes Brewing Unreliable Narrator (IPA) and Other Ephemera (Hoppy Lager)
** Evil Twin Brewing Imperial Simcoe Slacker (Double IPA)
** Stillwater Artisanal Nu-Tropic (Tropical IPA)

IPA in LIC: A Hoppy Crawl in Four Parts. With Whiskey.

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It’s the original beer-can tour stick!


It’s time for me to dust off the ol’ beer-can stick and lead another tour. To tie into the launch of Complete IPA, I’m leading a tour to four Long Island City breweries, each of which will pour special IPAs.

We’re starting with haze-bomb specialists LIC Beer Project, before moving onto Big Alice Brewing and its collection of innovative, agrarian-inspired beers. Afterward, we’re heading to Fifth Hammer Brewing Company for a sneak preview of Chris Cuzme’s forthcoming brewery. Lastly, we’re finishing at Rockaway Brewing Co. where the brewers have cooked up a very special IPA (think: aroma-mobbed, madly flavorful) just for us. For the final proof that this afternoon is epic, Arcane Distilling is turning the Rockaway IPA into whiskey for us to toast at the end.

Prep your liver.

Tickets are available now.

WHAT: IPA in LIC: A Hoppy Crawl in Four Parts. With Whiskey.
WHEN: Saturday, October 22, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Long Island City, Queens
TICKETS: $40. They’re available here.

Complete IPA Release Party at Brooklyn Brewery

CompleteIPA_Release

Fine drinkers!

Hope everyone is having a splendid summer. With September on the horizon, I’m getting some fun events cooking for fall. First up: It’s the release party for my new book, Complete IPA, set to be released in September. To celebrate we’re throwing a big ol’ bash at Brooklyn Brewery. The details:

WHAT: Complete IPA Book Release Party
WHEN: Tuesday, September 20, 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.
WHERE: Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th St., nr. Wythe Avenue; Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
TICKETS: They’re available today at 2 p.m.

Tickets will be available in two tiers:

* The $25 ticket will get you unlimited Brooklyn Brewery beer, food from Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen and a copy of Complete IPA (a $20 value).

* If you’re just down to celebrate, the $20 ticket will get you unlimited Brooklyn Brewery beer and food. However, this is a book-release party. If you’re coming, don’t you really want a book?

***

Tonight, come join drinkers and thinkers at the Brooklyn Brewery as we proudly host the release party for Complete IPA, Brooklyn author Joshua M. Bernstein’s comprehensively fragrant, sometimes bitter, occasionally tropical and always refreshing guide to the global IPA phenomenon.

What better way to celebrate a beer book than with, well, plenty of beer. Brooklyn Brewery will be opening up their IPA-heavy draft lines and popping bottles of its award-winning Belgian-style beers and other rarities. Josh will be on hand to sign books and make bad hop puns. Plus: eats by Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen.

Looking forward to celebrating with everyone at the Brooklyn Brewery!

Note: The event has a limited capacity. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance. We can’t guarantee there will be tickets available at the door.

Coming in September: Complete IPA

Complete IPA

Hey there! Been a little it, hasn’t it? That’s because I’ve spent much of the last seven months writing a book, stressing about writing a book, revising a book, editing a book and, oh yeah, taking care of a toddler and writing stories. So many stories!

But I’m here to tell you about the book. On September 13, my publisher, Sterling, will release my latest book, Complete IPA. (Want to pre-order it? Click here!) What’s it about? Why did I decide to write it? Thanks for asking! The explanation all starts with a dollar bill. (Note: This excerpt is way expanded from my book intro.)

During the late ’90s, my wobbly undergrad-journalist days at Ohio University, I regularly patronized O’Hooley’s. (Today it has transformed into Jackie O’s, one of the Midwest’s better breweries.) It was a dark and smoky Irish brewpub, popular with bluegrass bands, dispensing brown ales, pale ales, stouts, and other full-bodied crowd-pleasers. What made O’Hooley’s special, especially for a cash-poor college kid, was Power Hour: for 60 glorious minutes, every house draft was $1. A buck! At first I was a greedy, greedy gumdrops, downing three or four in an hour, alcohol, not flavor, my chief concern.

Not every night needed be a blast-off to a blackout. Over time, I started discussing the beers with friends, asking questions, divining why they tasted different. The answers in time led me down delicious tributaries bubbling with monk-brewed Belgian tripels, robust barley wines, rich doppelbocks, and, oh yeah, the occasional India pale ale. Fifteen years back, the IPA was one of many teleporters into a fermented cosmos far more flavorful, far more interesting than what I could gulp from a keg while suspended upside down by my ankles.

What a difference a decade and a half makes.

Beer today is an all-you-can-eat luncheon, glutted with bourbon-barreled imperial stouts, salty ’n sour German ales spritzed with blood oranges, and rustic saisons gone funky with wild yeast. But when people first approach that smorgasbord, empty glass extended, the first (and second and third) selection is often an IPA, the king of contemporary beer.

Whereas for me it was stouts and Belgians that hipped me to a world beyond the bulk-buy lager, mass-produced and massively forgettable, the IPA is oftentimes today’s introductory touchstone of taste. Bitterness and citrus, pine trees and dankness worthy of a weed-filled one-hitter, they’re flavors and fragrances that are easy to grasp, easy to love, easy to obsess over. A generation ago, brewing IPAs made brewers stand out. Now brewers make IPAs to fit in, our ceaseless thirst driving production.

Most every brewer in America, more than 4,300 as of publication and climbing nearly daily, and a growing number around the globe, makes some iteration of an IPA. It’s a category as elastic as it is overcrowded. Those three letters used to be shorthand for bitterness and a fair bit of booze. Now an IPA is code word for flavor. It’s anything and everything, a fever dream filled with hops, kegged, and served cold.

I kind of saw it coming. As a journalist hard on the beer beat since the early aughts, I noticed the uptick in IPAs, the beers growing brasher and more prevalent. However, I thought the wave would crest and crash, followed by another. That’s the nature of trends. The IPA, though, was not a single upsurge; it was a rolling series of swells, some bigger, some smaller, all impactful, steadily eroding prevailing beliefs that beer equaled a fizzed-up yellow lager.

So many waves of IPAs arrived, from every which direction, it was becoming a superhuman endeavor to track them. And it was my job. To provide a concise snapshot of the pervasive, always changing, forever evolving beer style, creating a kind of bitter Rosetta Stone, I resolved to write The Complete IPA. Yes, it’s about beer. It’s also about the ingenuity of brewers taking an idea, taking raw material, and making it massively memorable, utterly distinct, and paradigm shifting—no easy shakes.

Creating a printed document in the forward-hurtling beer world can be thorny, text dated before the tome touches a shelf. I tried to read tealeaves, but with IPAs the only foregone certainty is flux. There’s likely some experimental hop, just taking root, filled with flavors we never dreamed possible in a flower, destined to upend the IPA game forever.

And that’s what keeps me writing and drinking, not necessarily in that order. We’re living in an IPA world. Complete IPA shows you how to drink it in, down to the dollar.

Announcing: Solstice Session at Arrogant Swine—Part III

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WHAT: Solstice Session at Arrogant Swine: Part III
WHEN: Saturday, June 18, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Arrogant Swine (173 Morgan Avenue at Scholes Street); Bushwick, Brooklyn
TICKETS: $40. They’re on sale now.

Tyson Ho likes swine. Joshua M. Bernstein and Chris Cuzme? They like beer.

To combine these two great life pleasures, the gluttonous trio is once more joining forces to throw their annual Solstice Session at Bushwick’s premier North Carolina-style BBQ joint, Arrogant Swine.

Pitmaster Ho will slow-roast the finest heritage pig and serve mountains of pulled-pork sandwiches. (Don’t worry: veggies will have food too.) To drink, Cuzme and Bernstein have assembled a line-up of the city’s best session beer and offbeat ferments–low alcohol but not low in flavor. And perfect for drinking all afternoon.

We’ve enlisted 10 of the city’s best homebrewers to make session beers (around 4.5 percent ABV and under), then we’ve tabbed NYC’s best and brightest breweries to craft low-alcohol beauties too. That means you’ll be drinking the likes of Other Half, LIC Beer Project, Finback, Strong Rope, Rockaway Brewing, Kings County Brewers Collective, Braven and more. There will be 25 unique, rarely tasted session brews on offer, from table sours to cracker-crisp pilsners, fruited Berliner weisses, session IPAs and everything under the low-alcohol sun. (And yes, you’ll be able to drink all you want.)

You’ll savor the beverages in more than 3,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor industrial paradise, with picnic tables aplenty. Once again, there’s no better way to kick off the summer.

Oh, Hey, What Have You Been Doing?

Drowning in Beer

Ever felt like you’re drowning, sucking in water and grasping for air, any air, just one breath? I have! It’s called writing a book in, oh, 106 days, give or take a few hours.

But instead of water I was guzzling IPAs, so many IPAs, parsing bitterness, pine and tropical fruit, turning impressions into thoughts and words. So many thoughts! So many words! Tens of thousands of words that went on to create Complete IPA, my boozy stab at chronicling the IPA fever sweeping the globe.

Cue up the tiny violins, roll out the golf clap, right? I get it: I’m a lucky duck, able to turn pleasure into a career. But heavens to Betsy, this book just about broke me. Writing is one thing; writing while moving from your apartment of 13 years (thanks for selling the building, landlord!), taking care of a hyper-energetic toddler and making sure that your dog gets enough walks, well, that’s a whole different beast. And totally possible! Provided that you don’t do important things like, say, sleep or see your friends, every other word you utter some variation on “citrusy.”

THERE IS SO MUCH CITRUS IN THE BEER WORLD.

But I finished the project, because that’s what I do when a deadline stares me straight in the eyes. It’s how I’ve stayed afloat for nearly 16 years of freelancing, making the impossible possible—even as it threatens to tear your sanity into tiny little pieces, the IPAs you’re drinking becoming not work but medicine, a weird twisted dance.

Guess what? I’m OK now! I think! The book is winding through edits, set to be published this September by Sterling Epicure, which published Brewed Awakening and The Complete Beer Course. At which point I’ll do some sort of boozy book tour. And drink many, many IPAs.

In between writing the book, I’ve been writing. Words! Lots of them! Mostly about beer. Care to see what I’ve been up to? Behold, a sampling of my words. About beer. Mostly.

Imbibe, “Full Press”:  How American cider is making a mainstream move.

Imbibe, “Gold Standard”: Firestone Walker’s Matt Brynildson is the best brewer no one has heard of. 

Imbibe, “Canned Craft Beer Grows Up”: Brewers are putting the pedal to the metal.

Draft, “Renaissance Maine”: At Funky Bow, rural Maine’s do-it-all man Paul Lorrain has a green thumb for business—and playing host.

Draft, “Content Under Pressure”: Whether he’s custom-building draft systems or growler fillers, Ben Granger is out to prove that carbonation is beer’s crucial fifth ingredient.

Draft, “Getting Cultured”: Be it sprouted grains, honey, apples, cabbage, or barley, Brooklyn’s Mary Izett believes she can ferment it.

Men’s Journal, “The 10 Best Shandy and Radler Beers”: Don’t get stuck drinking subpar citrus-infused beer.

Men’s Journal, “Take Beer Instagrams That Aren’t Boring”: You can do better.

Wine Enthusiast, “5 Milk Stouts You’ll Fall in Love With”: Truth.

Eater, “This Insulated Dark Lager Will Rekindle Your Love for Brooklyn Brewery

Eater, “Beer Review: Victory Vital IPA, a Contemporary, Crushable Beer

Eater, “Beer Review: Beer Review: SweetWater Hash Session Turns Waste Into Want 

BeerAdvocate Magazine, “Dry Spell”: Brewers are dry-hopped sours to create tart refreshers with IPA aromatics.

Bon Appétit, “Bored by IPA? Here Are the Craft Beer Trends to Crush in 2016”: Once again, you’ll want to try the dry-hopped sour. 

Bon Appétit, “Tropical-Flavored Beers are Vacations in a Bottle”: It’s the islands by way of the beer aisle.

Bon Appétit, “Yes, There Actually Are Oysters in That Oyster Stout”: Drink up the sea.

Culture, “Bitter Cold”: Pairing cheese with the freshest winter IPAs is a total pro move.