Tag Archives: New York

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.


Meet Radiant Pig, New York’s Newest Brewery

pig_600x444_scaled_croppOnce upon a time, a new brewery opening in New York City was as uncommon a sight as, say, a dolphin in the Gowanus Canal. But these days, nary a month goes by in the Big Apple without another beer maker appearing on the radar.

Or completely flying under the radar. I pride myself on staying current on the newest craft breweries in town, so I was a bit blindsided (in a good way) by this week’s arrival of Radiant Pig Craft Beers. Where had they come from? And, more importantly, what was up with that name?

First things first, the brewery is the brainchild of Rob Pihl and his girlfriend, Laurisa Milici. For years, Pihl had been an avid homebrewer in his Manhattan apartment. Milici loved drinking beer. So it was sort of a no-brainer that, when they were looking to make a break from their advertising gigs, that they turn their passion into a profession.

Pihl spent several years trying to dial in the recipe for a moderate-strength IPA with plenty of citrusy aromatics. You know, something you could drink by the growler and not be a slurring, stumbling wreck. Finally, he hit upon the perfect hop to use: Falconer’s Flight, a proprietary blend of seven citrusy, tropical, floral varieties.

“It was a blend that was perfect for us,” Milici says. “It brings a unique flavor to the beer,” which became known as Junior IPA—the offspring of a pale ale and an IPA. It would be the flagship of their brewery,  which would be known as Radiant Pig. Continue reading

Craft Beer New York: On Android!

drunk-robotYou asked. We listened. At long last, my Craft Beer New York app is not only available on iPhone. We’ve now created an Android version. As the drunk robot would say, “Awesom-o!”

Top Picks for New York City Beer Week


This was previously published on my app, Craft Beer New York.

This week marks the return of New York City Beer Week, a blowout of the the best brews in the Big Apple. From February 22  until March 3 (yeah, the week lasts 10 days), the city will be overrun with beer-soaked events. Here are my top choices for abusing your liver.

Williamsburg Cask Ale Festival: Over four days, cask-ale expert Alex Hall will be taking over the Brooklyn branch of d.b.a. to serve up some of the city’s choicest cask ales. (February 23–26, 1 p.m. to late daily; pay as you  go)

Spanish Beer and Cider Fest: Today, Chelsea’s La Nacional will be serving some of Spain’s best beer and cider, which will be paired with unlimited tapas. (February 23, 3 to 7 p.m.; $35)

The World of Wheat: All week, Park Slope’s the Owl Farm will be serving strange, unusual wheat beers, from salty and sour goses to strong, caramel-nuanced wheat wines. (February 22 to March 3, pay as you go)

All-Queens Breweries Dinner For two nights, the Queens Kickshaw will host a four-course dinner featuring food paired with the best local brews from SingleCut, Bridge and Tunnel, Rockaway Brewing and Beyond Kombucha. To reserve a spot, email info@thequeenskickshaw.com. (February 26–27, 6 to 9:30 p.m.; $55 plus tax and tip)

Brewer’s Choice: Tonight, City Winery is filled with the best and brightest of the regional beer scene. You’ll find beers from more than 20 breweries such as Evil Twin, Stillwater and White Birch, many of which will be poured by the brewers themselves.  Plus: food and booze! (February 27, 6 to 10 p.m.; $60)

Jimmy’s Homebrew Jamboree: Fifteen of New York’s best homebrewers have crafted beers especially for this brunch blowout, including coffee-infused oatmeal stouts, IPAs aplenty and even an oak-aged Berliner weisse. (March 2, 12 to 3 p.m.; $35)

aPORKalyspe Now: Like swine and beer? Head to Alewife Queens for a celebration of two of the finer things in life. Expect brews from the likes of Blind Bat, Peekskill, Blue Point and Port Jeff. (March 2, 12 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.; $40 for 10 tastes of food and 10 tastes of beer)

Closing Party: Come tie one on one last time at La Birreria’s stunning rooftop brewpub. The event is pay as you go, and it will feature plenty of rarities from members of the New York City Brewers Guild. (March 3, 12 to 4 p.m.)

Murray’s Cheese Bar Beer Dinner with Garrett Oliver: Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster will pair rare beers and bottles during a five-course, fromage-focused affair. (March 3, 5 to 7 p.m.; $75)

Fantastic Four: Great New Beers in New York


This post originally appeared on Craft Beer New York.

Every time I go to my local bottle shop to buy a six-pack or three, it seems like there’s another new beer or brewery gracing the shelves. Despite my ongoing drunkenness, I am not hallucinating. Brands are entering the New York City market at a dizzying clip. Here are a few of my favorite new arrivals to seek out.

Sixpoint 3 Beans: To build this burly Baltic porter (hello, 10 percent ABV), the crew from Brooklyn’s Sixpoint turned to a blend of wheat, barley and, yes, three beans. The first is Stumptown Coffee, while the second is husked cacao beans from Brooklyn’s Mast Brothers Chocolate. And the third bean, well, that’s no obvious. It’s a Romano bean, which was once used to extend the fermentable power of barley and, in a nice twist, contribute proteins to create a rich, luscious body. As a finishing touch, the beer was aged in toasted oak barrels for three weeks, resulting in a creamy, silky indulgence sold by the can.

Troëgs Nugget Nectar: For hop heads, January and February are the cruelest months. Brewers have turned their attentions to barley wines and stouts, mothballing bitter beers until the spring or summer. That’s not the case at Hershey, Pennsylvania’s Troëgs, which uses these months to release its highly covetable Nugget Nectar, the ratcheted-up version of the year-round HopBack Amber Ale. The imperial Nugget’s caramel-malt flavor is complemented by a fresh, floral perfume. It’s now available in bottles. Look for it in draft later this month.

Bayou Teche: While the South has long lagged behind in the craft-beer game, it’s recently begun to catch up thanks to wonderful new breweries such as Louisiana’s Bayou Teche. (Currently, much of its beer is brewed by Mississippi’s Lazy Magnolia.) Based around an hour outside Baton Rogue in Arnaudville, Bayou Teche is the brainchild of brothers Karlos, Byron and Dorsey Knott. Their focus is beers designed to complement Cajun and Creole cuisine. Currently, New Yorkers can try the biscuity LA-31 Bière Pâle and the Passionnè wheat beer, which is made with passion fruit. In the future, be on the lookout for my favorite release, Bière Noire. The robust, subtly smoky dark brew tastes of dark-roasted coffee, but it still drinks crisp and surprisingly dry.

Lakefront Brewery Fernet Stout: Eben Freeman is the bartending equivalent of Mr. Wizard, smoking Coca-Cola, infusing bourbon with cigars and creating “white Russian” Rice Krispies that are twice soaked in Kahlúa and dehydrated, then set adrift in a bowl of simple syrup, vodka and milk. Now Freeman is turning his talents to beer, collaborating  with Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery to create Fernet Stout. It’s based on the recipe for the Italian amaro Fernet, and the beer is brewed with ingredients including dried orange peel, star anise, clove, lemon verbena, fennel and saffron. The bitter beer is available on draft at Nicoletta Pizzeria and Osteria Morini.

Rebuilding Barrier Brewing


One of my favorite breweries in New York is Barrier, which Sixpoint vets Evan Klein and Craig Frymark have built up from a one-barrel nanobrewery to a five-barrel brewhouse with an eye on spreading their inventive, hop-forward ales across New York City and the region.

Well, that was the case until Sandy socked Barrier. Its name proved scant protection. Water rushed into the brewery, knocking equipment asunder and coldly, quickly destroying everything. This blow hit doubly hard, mainly because Barrier had just moved into its larger, newer—and more expensive—space four months earlier. The damage was to the tune of $100,000, a tough nut to scrape up for a couple brewers barely scraping by.

But the New York brewing community does not allow disaster to knock down its brothers and sisters. What Barrier needs to do is sell beer on the double, which is where Brewery Ommegang comes into the story. The Belgian-focused brewery has opened up its brew kettles to the crew from Barrier.

“Ommegang is a brewery we’ve always been inspired by and have admired and to actually be here on the ground making a beer with them is a really exciting thing,” said Barrier’s Frymark.

The crew designed Barrier Relief Ale, a Belgian-style IPA that Ommegang will cook up. There will be around 400 kegs, which will be sold under the Ommegang label with the proceeds directly benefiting Barrier. The beer should be hitting tap lines shortly after the New Year. Hopefully, Barrier we’ll be back in business before then.

“We’re rebuilding. We’ve reordered all of the equipment that we need to be operational again,” explained Barrier’s Klein. “The goal is to be up and running before the year is out.”

And we’ll drink to that.

P.S. Also of note: Ommegang will soon release a Game of Thrones–inspired beers.

Gut Instinct: Meet Me at the Gastrobrewery

It’s a torrid Tuesday night on the western fringes of Soho, not far from the languorous Hudson River, and I’m desperately craving a cold beer. To find one, I enter Mediterranean-leaning restaurant 508 NYC (508 Greenwich St. at Spring St., 508nyc.com), where suited men sit at the bar and slurp oysters and pints of amber-hued brews. They look delectable, but those aren’t my desired suds. I saunter to the eatery’s rear. Standing sentry-like before the kitchen is Anderson Sant’anna de Lima, the restaurant’s bespectacled co-owner and chef, his arms tattooed as colorfully as a 1940s sailor, his wallet attached to a chain.

“Follow me,” he says, leading me past slicing, dicing cooks and to a stairwell. Step by step, I descend underground. Continue reading