Tag Archives: Craft Beer New York

Reintroducing Peekskill Brewery

photo-copy5This post originally appeared on Craft Beer New York.

After the marathon that was Craft Beer Week, it would be wise to take a break from booze and give my liver some much-needed rest. But what’s the fun in that when New York bars are now pouring beer from one of the most exciting new breweries the city has seen in months?

Well, new brewery might be a bit of a stretch. Peekskill Brewery, located alongside the Hudson River about 50 minutes north of New York, is no spring chicken. Peekskill has been a local linchpin for several years, turning out dependable, if hardly memorable beer. That all changed with last year’s arrival of Jeff O’Neil, the former head brewer at Ithaca Beer Company.

Seeking a smaller, more intimate operation, the Chief, as O’Neil is known, relocated to Peekskill and took over brewing duties. The brewery recently expanded into a nearby four-story stone structure, outfitted with a taproom, pub and plenty of space for barrel-aging and other experiments.  (The brewery is equipped with a coolship, a sort of shallow pan that allows you to spontaneously ferment wort—the broth that becomes beer.)

While Peekskill is worth a journey north (the kitchen’s food will knock your socks off), you do not need to ride the Metro-North to get a taste of O’Neil’s creations. The brewery recently signed a deal to distribute its beers in Westchester and New York City. Around town, tap lines are starting to fill with O’Neil’s divine hop-driven ales, including the passionfruit-like AMAZEballs pale ale (dosed with Australia’s Galaxy hops); unfiltered, lightly citrusy Hop Common; juicy and tropical Double Standard double IPA and refreshing, Brettanomyces-spiked Simple Sour. 

What are you waiting for? It’s time take a peek at this excellent New York brewery.


From Lebanon, With Beer: Meet 961


961 Beer founder Mazen Hajjar.

When it comes to foreign beer being imported to the U.S., there’s plenty of buzz about brewers from Denmark, Italy and even Spain and France, a nation better known for its love of grapes than grains. But the craft beer revolution is not confined to continental Europe. Lately, craft breweries have begun to crop up in Beijing, India and, perhaps most surprising of all, Beirut, Lebanon.

This month marks the stateside arrival of 961 Beer, Beirut’s first craft brewery. The firm was founded in 2006 by Mazen Hajjar, a former investment banker who ran two airlines before catching the brewing bug. “I bought every book on beer on Amazon and taught myself to brew,” says Hajjar, who took his greatest inspiration from Beer School by Brooklyn Brewery founders Steve Hindy and Tom Potter.

Hajjar began homebrewing, taking his inspiration from Britain’s balanced brewing traditions. He tinkered with porters and English-inspired pale ales, conducting endless “research sessions” with friends and colleagues.

Then one day came a knock at the door. Continue reading

Port Jefferson Comes to Brooklyn

Brooklyn We Go Hard_600x444_scaled_cropp

A decade ago, the Long Island craft brewing scene could be boiled down to two major players: Blue Point and Southampton. Besides them, craft brews were tough to come by on Long Island, much less New York City. But in the last few years, breweries in Long Island have been popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain.

Greenport Harbor, Long Ireland and Blind Bat are among the many breweries that are crafting excellent beers for Long Island residents and New Yorkers alike. And the latest Long Island brewery to expand distribution to New York is Port Jeff Brewing Company, the brainchild of Port Jefferson’s Mike Philbrick.

After more than a decade spent homebrewing, Philbrick decided to go pro. He turned a Christmas-supply shop into the first brewery in this harbor-hugging town on Long Island’s North Shore. On a seven-barrel system, Philbrick crafts full flavor, no-hops-spared beers that honor the town’s shipbuilding past.

The flagship Schooner Ale is the most approachable beer, a malty-citrusy marriage of English and American brewing traditions. Better still is the Runaway Ferry Imperial IPA, which is made with smoked malt, and the Low Tide Black IPA that receives a tropical edge due to Citra hops. The honey-sweetened porter also ain’t half bad, and come summer you’d be happy to sip the White’s Beach Wit.

Tonight at 7 p.m., Bierkraft hosts the brewery’s big Brooklyn debut. Seven Port Jeff beers will be on tap, including Schooner, Runaway Ferry Imperial Smoked IPA, Low Tide and a couple cask ales, notably the Starboard Oatmeal Stout primed with Port Jeff Birch Beer.

Trust me: This brewery will be your favorite new port of call.

This post appeared in my iPhone app, Craft Beer New York.

Look, Ma, We Made the New York Times!

Illustration: Christoph Hitz

While Christmas and Hanukkah may still be weeks away, the New York Times gave me an early holiday present with a review of my new iPhone app, Craft Beer New York. It’s a curious thing. In this era of fractured media, Twitter feeds and Facebook updates, the national paper of record still has the power to drive public opinion and really open eyeballs across America. For that, I am very thankful. If you’re curious, take a gander at the write-up right…here.

P.S. Though the author’s name is Joshua Brustein, I pinky-swear I did not write this article under a different pen name.

Craft Beer New York Is Out!

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.