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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery’ Category

Brooklyn Wild One

April 16th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Wild Ale

ABV unknown from a 750 mL

My friends that don’t exactly know beer often assume that I will one day actually run out of beers to review.  I jokingly always assure them that if I simply reviewed every single Brooklyn Brewery beer that I’d have more than enough work to do for the rest of time.  And, you know, sometimes it does feel like I’m a hired mouthpiece for the Brooklyn boys.  Yes, my home team brewery has so many great releases that it seems I have a new one to try and review each and every week.  Their Wild One was a uber-rarity I had wanted to suck down for ages.  Long available only at beer fests and those pricey pairing dinners that sell out in a second, I finally lucked out earlier this week at a nifty Brooklyn Brewery event hosted by Blind Tiger.

Served to me in an unlabeled corked-and-caged bottle, this beer is the always reliable Local One bourbon-barreled with Brett for nine months.  But, whoa, does that take a terrific Belgian pale ale and allow it to enter an entirely new stratosphere.  The smell is fresh and funky like a typical wild ale but the taste is completely different.  Bubbling and effervescent, of course, the initial tastes are likewise sour, but the backend finish is delightfully yeasty, bready, vanilla-like, and most notably sweet from the Local One influence.  I just loved the complexity of flavors and the nice sweet and sour game battling it out on my tastebuds.  It was too good to even savor, I greedily slurped it down like it was Gatorade after a long run.

I would stand in line in the freezing cold for this beer if it was released at a yearly one-off event, that’s how much I adored it.  I even went back to the bar for a second $26 bottle.  I am going to assume it is only lack of knowledge of its mere existence that prevents this beer from being one of the most coveted rarities on beer trading forums throughout America, because simply put, it might be the best wild ale I’ve ever had.

A+

Brooklyn Dark Matter

April 7th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Brown Ale

7.5% ABV on tap

Highlights

J was the most beautiful woman I ever dated.  Using an “out-of-10″ number scale was futile when discussing her, but she was about as attractive as a normal girl could be.  Then again, she came from the loins of two un-normal people–a small-time model and a smaller-time CFL player.  She was modelesque, statusesque, and ultimately kinda crazy.  I tried to force chemistry with her just because I liked having such a tall knock-out on my arm wherever I went.  This was during my more egotistical days.  Though we never had a future, even from the get-go, I wish I still knew her.  I just liked sitting across the table from her in a restaurant and staring.

A was the best in bed, which is odd, because she was a mere 22 years of age when we began dating.  Even though I was 7 years her senior, she schooled me in moves, leading me to wonder how she was so sexually educated.  The fact that she was a neo-hippie that liked to follow jam bands around the country during the summer made me think she probably spent a lot of time on her back in muddy tents at field shows, a bearded stinker on top of her, trying out a Kama Sutra of shroom-influenced positions.  It also made me realize why she had a fairly respectable bush for a 22-year-old in the 21st century.

K was the most sexually willing.  She had a voracious appetite–both sexual and food-wise, come to think of it–and simply could not get enough of me (or Thai food).  She was kinda lazy in bed though, not very flexible, and had some self-lubrication issues.  Yet she always wanted it.  My weekly prophylactics tab was extraordinarily high, my shaft was always chafed, my knees ached worse than a hard court tennis player’s, and I didn’t even need to work out any more, all thanks to her.

S was the ugliest girl I ever dated.  She wasn’t “ugly” per se–not by a long shot–she just wasn’t super attractive with her bland face and slightly doughy body.  Meeting up with her for our first date after having picked her up loaded one evening earlier in the week at a dive bar, I was a little stunned by my false remembrance of her beauty levels.  Nevertheless, I was a trooper and drunk my beer goggles back on before falling into bed with her that very night and then went out with her again and again and again and next thing I knew we had been dating for half a year and I’d given myself a six-month long bender.

P was the kindest and never got mad at me for any of the countless stupid and selfish things I am always wont to do (like writing a female superlatives catalog.)  In retrospect, she was actually kind of a doormat (and would have said nothing about me writing a female superlatives catalog–though would have secretly seethed.)

F was the sexiest and of course wasn’t American because, you know, the anti-jingoistic rumors are true–American women just aren’t that sexy typically.  Then again, when American men call a women “sexy”–a term American men rarely use because it’s just one of those embarrassing words to say unironically–they usually just mean that she has an over-the-top sexuality.  Which, again, few American women possess.  American women wear jeans and hooded sweatshirts and pony tails and flip-flops and subscribe to dumb time-frame rules before hopping into bed.  A woman like F wore slinky dresses and flowing locks where ever we went, whenever we went there, subscribed to no rules besides “tongue kiss any one and every one you find attractive,” and quite frankly made me feel inadequate and inhibited, which is never a nice feeling.

Q was the smartest girl I ever dated but I really don’t have anything to say about her because she was just so boring and never liked to do anything fun and actually was kinda more book smart than smart smart.  Which in retrospect makes me realize she was kinda dumb.  Because any one that is 30 that you are still calling book smart, even though they’ve been out of their US News & World Report Top 10 college for a decade, is probably not that smart at all.  It’s the “cute face” of backhanded intellect compliments.

L was the dumbest girl I ever dated.  I had to intentionally make myself about 40 IQ points dumber every time I spoke to her just so she would understand me.  I couldn’t really use polysyllabic words such as “polysyllabic” with her, which is not really a word one should ever use any ways, especially in romantic or sexual situations, but I was just making a point there.  Just like with ugly S, I had to always be drunk with L just so I could exist with her because:  her sober equaled me after about 15 beers IQ-wise at least.

B was the most annoying.  She never quit fucking talking and it wasn’t like she had a silky voice either.  Her voice was shrill and nasally and jarring.  I was embarrassed to take her in public, but alone it was like babysitting a toddler (not that I’ve ever babysat a toddler before, but I can imagine based on some sitcoms I’ve seen.)  There was really no excuse to ever even be in the same room with her except for the fact that I was bored and lonely at that time in my life.  I’m glad I’m no longer bored and lonely.

I’m not sure I’ve ever dated a truly funny women, but B had the best sense of humor.  And by that, I mean, of course, she laughed every time I said something funny, which is rare to find in a woman oddly enough.  But did she make me piss my pants in laughter?  No, of course not.

U was the best drinker.  60 pounds lighter than me yet no matter where we went she could match me drink for drink.  Buckets of beer, pitchers of sangria, shots of Jameson, didn’t matter.  She drank everything, quickly and thoroughly.  I’d have called her an alcoholic but she was far more responsible than me, never seemed to get hungover, never called in sick for work, and oddly seemed a paragon of health.  She may have been a drunkard of a superhero in respect.

And I had my first ever glass of Brooklyn’s Dark Matter with a new girl, which is always the best girl.  Yet another offering in Brooklyn’s stellar every-month-or-two, tap-only Brewmasters Reserve series, this is one of the best I’ve had yet.  Created in the same way as Brooklyn’s stellar Black Ops, though this time using an imperial brown ale for the Woodford Reserve bourbon-barreling as opposed to a big boy stout.  Boozy and rich, with tastes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, this is a quite worthy “little brother” companion to Black Ops.  Decent chilled, as it warms the flavors explode, more so than any beer I’ve had recently, and I’d advise just drinking it at room temperature straight from the get go.

A-

Brooklyn Cookie Jar Porter

January 29th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Porter

7.8% ABV on tap

I’ve recently started using my Twitter account to highlight, on a daily basis, the dumbest, most asinine, most asocially pathetic threads over on Beer Advocate.  It’s easier than you think.  Like today’s post by a guy fretting over how to pronounce the acronym for Double India Pale Ale (”Is it di-pah or die-pa?  Dee-pay?!?!?”).  Or yesterday’s post from a guy wondering if he’s allowed to drink a beer even though he’s just gotten over a cold.  Or last week’s pathetic thread par excellence from a guy concerned with drinking too many barley wines at a party, asking advice for whether he should spit out the potent potable after each taste so as to avoid ending the night doing the hokey-pokey by himself.  Now I may be a (shudder) anarchist libertarian, but I’m starting to understand why the government endorses nanny stateism so thoroughly.  How would these people know when to even wipe their asses if not for asking a message board of complete strangers?

One frequent thread topic that comes up though, which you make think is incredibly dumb or incredibly important, is whether some beer is “worth” whatever it costs.  For me, a beer I’ve never had is always worth paying for at least once.  And there’s no way I won’t shell out for each new release from Brooklyn’s tap-only Brewmasters Reserve Series.  Garrett Oliver has lately become obsessed with creating beers that taste like “other” things (i.e. cocktails or bacon or Indian food), and the idea behind this newest release, just out this very week, really tickled my fancy.  Take it away, Garrett:

“Last winter, while the Brooklyn brewing team sat around a peat fire drinking some inspirational drinks, brewer Tom Price mentioned that his friend’s bakery made some very fine oatmeal cookies. Before long, we were all talking about oatmeal cookies and how good they are with beer. Pretty soon we’d somehow decided that the cookies should actually become a beer. Funny, the things people come up with while drinking in front of a good fire.”

I loved this idea because I’ve long had issues with the fact that nearly all “oatmeal” stouts, whether delicious or awful, have virtually no oat-y taste in them at all.  Alas, here would finally be one that stuck the landing!  So earlier this week I popped into Rattle ‘n’ Hum for an afternoon chin chin.  I was the only one in the place aside from a handy man changing light bulbs and two bartenders comparing their manicures.

My Cookie Jar Porter was served surprisingly frigid and in a pint glass.*  Honestly, I expected a bit of a cookie sweet dessert beer and this tasted nothing like my expectations.  Quite frankly, I didn’t even much like Cookie Jar at first as I found it shockingly tart for a porter as the bitter raisins were over-powering me a bit, and not in a pleasant way as in Dogfish Head’s delectable Raisin d’Etre.**  Eventually, as the beer warmed, the oatmeal cookie flavors (courtesy of Jersey City’s Feed Your Soul Bakery) start coming out more, especially on the back-end with hints of brown sugar and vanilla.

I wish the whole beer had tasted like the finish, but really this ended up being somewhat of a standard porter.  I really don’t think if you didn’t know the story of Cookie Jar would you even take a sip and go, “Wow, what is that?”  I greatly admire Brooklyn’s ambition, but just like another recent Brewmasters release, Manhattan Project, this is a bit of a mildly flawed effort.  Nevertheless, please keep ‘em coming, Brooklyn!

Now back to the is it “worth it”?  I paid $8 for this pint, a high-average price for a pint in New York.  So would I rather have my $8 back?  OF COURSE NOT.  Then I would just be a guy with $8 still curious as hell how good this crazy Cookie Jar porter is, anxious to try it.  Now I’m a guy $8 poorer, that knows that Cookie Jar Porter is a…

B+

*I’ve never had a problem with the Rattle ‘n’ Hum’s serving glassware or temperature, but I think the JV was working the noon-time shift.

**Re-reading that review–wow–was I a tougher grader back in the day.  Now I’m all “YAY BEER!” on everything.

Brooklyn Manhattan Project

September 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Brewer: Dogfish Head, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Rye Beer

8.5% ABV on tap

When I was a prepubescent I wanted to meet my favorites sportsmen, guys like Darryl Strawberry and Charles Barkley and Barry Sanders, and get their autographs on balls and cards.  When I became a pubescent I wanted to meet my favorite rock stars and learn why women loved them so.  When I was in college I wanted to meet my favorite filmmakers and writers and ask them about their craft, perhaps learn a thing or two.  But now that I’m thirty, I simply want to meet my brewing idols to thank them for making the sugary poison that enhances my life.  And by “enhances,” I mean gets me drunk and causes me to do funny things.

Luckily, yesterday I would get to meet my two biggest beer idols, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery–coincidentally the two most-reviewed breweries here on the Vice Blog–both making appearances at Blind Tiger and Rattle ‘N’ Hum respectively to celebrate New York Craft Beer Week.

I headed to Blind Tiger in the early afternoon to beat the rush but soon the place had become the typical Star Trek Convention-esque scene like most big beer geek events.  Men either incredibly lithe or incredibly burly, no one weighing anywhere in between (i.e. “normal”), all hirsute of face, in vintage t-shirts and Rivers Cuomo spectacles.  I came alone and, with no one to whisper mocking barbs to, was lucky enough to quickly find a compadre, the only girl at the event who didn’t have a look on her face of “I can’t believe my boyfriend dragged me to this nerdfest/I can’t believe he gets this excited for beer/I can’t believe I fuck this loser/Hey, is that the Vice Blogger over there?!”  She had shockingly come under her own cognizance.

With a full slate of Dogfish Head beers on tap, I sipped on some I’d had before, some I hadn’t.  I enjoyed:

Raison D’Extra (2008)–This 18% amped up version of Raison D’Etre is maybe the most boozy beer I’ve ever had.  But I like that!  Dried fruits, spices, strong malts, and an oaky vanilla finish, this brew pummels your throat like a bourbon neat.  A-

Black & Blue (2007)–Not nearly as fruity as I expected, nor boozy, especially compared to their great Fort, I found this one light and refreshing.  A sure “panty dropper” for the ladies as it’s a surprising 11%.  Not sure if aging does much for this one though.  B+

120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout (2007)–Though I’d had both ABV-asskickers (21% and 18% respectively) bottled numerous times, I’d had neither of these on tap before and was most excited.  120 Minute is a masterpiece any way you slice it, a true Hall of Famer in the beer world, and it was a pleasure to finally try it on tap where the hops come through more and make it far less the de facto barleywine it usually is.  As for World Wide Stout, I’ve always liked, but never loved “young” bottles of it.  Found them lacking in complexity and far too boozy.  But aged for a few years and on tap, this stout becomes a masterpiece that can surely be mentioned in the same breath as the other imperial stout big dogs of America.  both A+

Halfway through my World Wide Stout, the beer geeks started squealing like little girls do when a Jonas Brother enters the room, signaling to me that Sam had clearly arrived.  Perchance, I happened to be the first person he talked to and the most congenial man chatted it up with me for a good five minutes about his upcoming Life and Life collaboration with Sierra Nevada.  He was very excited for its November release, as am I.

(I was also excited to meet a surprise guest–pictured above with me and Sam–Achouffe brewmaster Chris Bauweraerts.)

After Sam moved on to placate some other geeks and avoid getting lice from their unkempt, greasy beards, someone remarked, “Wow, he was really nice.”

Uh, yeah, he makes and drinks beer for a living.  I’d be the nicest motherfucker in the world too if that was my life.

By now the scene at Blind Tiger was getting unruly with pencil-necked, raggedy-armed men gushing over Sam and making the line to get a drink at the bar at least a half-dozen deep on all sides, so I left to hotfoot it thirty-some-odd blocks north to Rattle ‘N’ Hum to meet beer legend #2.

After four straight double-digit-ABV Dogfish Head beer, I probably needed a respite, but audentes fortuna iuvat, fortune favors the bold, and any how, low ABV beers kinda suck.

Rattle ‘N’ Hum had a full slate of Brooklyn brews and I was stunned to see one I’d never had before, a DIPA, Brooklyn Blast Pale Ale, available on both cask and tap.  I opted to try both.  You know, science experiment reasons.

And wow, what a great beer!  An intense smell of pine and grapefruit, a wet and juicy hops taste with just a tad more sweetness on cask than tap.  Complex with just the right blend of maltiness and bitterness.  This might be the most “West Coast”-style IPA I’ve found on the East Coast as most of our DIPAs tend to gravitate more toward the malty sweet barleywine variety (see:  Southern Tier Unearthly or Dogfish Head 90 Minute, both divine though, don’t get me wrong).

I ask, how is Blast not more “famous”?  It certainly deserves mention in the same breath with not simply the east coast’s best DIPAs, but all of America’s.  I sure wish this was a more common find in these here parts for it is truly superb.  Either on tap or cask, and I don’t typically love cask IPAs mind you, I could drink it all fucking day long.  A

Relaxed and bordering on post-coital after downing two separate Blasts, I was excited to see Garrett in the house and made my way over to shake his hand and cajole him into a “Can we smile big and pretend we like and know each other?” picture.  He kindly obliged.

He also gave me the scoop on his new bacon beer (none of us hoi polloi are ever gonna get to try it) and his upcoming $350 pairing dinner at Per Se (none of us hoi polloi could ever possibly afford it) before I had to be escorted away by security so that he could get back to enjoying a slider.  (Garrett Oliver eats sliders?!?!?!)

Besides meeting Garrett, though, I had come to Rattle ‘N’ Hum with one other major goal in mind, having one of the world’s first tastes of his new Manhattan Project, a beer still of this second without even a single review on Beer Advocate.

Lately Garrett has become obsessed with using his Brewmasters Reserve series to make experimental beers that taste like other, atypical to beer, things.  And, with the Manhattan being his favorite cocktail, he was curious if he could make a beer that tastes like that amazing concoction.  It’s by far my favorite cocktail too so this was right in my wheelhouse and I expected to make a mess in my pants over it.

A rye beer aged in Rittenhouse Rye whiskey barrels and then infused with botanicals from sweet vermouth and bitters, this beer smells spot-on like a glorious Manhattan and the taste is right there too.  It is a most interesting execution, something maybe only Garrett could come up with.  Really boozy, you can feel the rye.  A little too sweet in a cough-drop type way, but that’s a minor quibble.  A slightly uneven blending, with a tart cherry finish, this isn’t quite as seamlessly smooth as I’d like and I’d probably enjoy a thicker mouthfeel.  Or, maybe, I’d just enjoy a straight up 100 proof Manhattan.  Naw, this beer is great, a truly sui generis offering.  I hope it’s around for a long time to come.  It’s a beer I’m gonna remember for a long time.

A-

New York’s Best Beers

September 10th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Brewer: Ommegang, Brewer: Southern Tier, Lists

Sure, it’s easy to heed the refrain “Buy local!” when you’re an elitist living in an awesome major city enclave that has awesome food and drink.  But what if you live in a real shithole?  I’ve lived in places where buying “local” would mean picking up a pack of franks and a Sno-cone at the corner gas station.  Luckily, I live in a place now where I could probably solely exist by eating and drinking local (if only it wasn’t for my pesky love of camel burgers, d’oh!).  New York state is one of top five craft beer states in the nation, and even though Southern Tier in Lakewood is further from me than Richmond, Virginia and Ommegang in Cooperstown further than Philadelphia, they are still part of my state and them’s the rules.  So, with that, and with NYC Craft Beer Week beginning today, I give you…

New York’s Best Beers

Note:  I’ve only included yearly releases.  I don’t care whether they are seasonal or even ultra-rare, so long as they are released each year, I have considered them in the rankings.  This, unfortunately, eliminates one-off experimental stuff like Brooklyn’s great Brewmasters Reserve series.  Additionally, in the fine print at the bottom I list some notable NY beers I’ve unfortunately never tried.

1.  Brooklyn Black Ops (bottled and available here)

For better or worse, the best beer in New York state is also probably the most expensive.  If you can still find it.  Black Ops sold for around $25 a bottle–in a gorgeous bowling pin of an engraved corked-and-caged 750 mL–when it was released last winter, and it completely lived up to the hype.  Now, no longer able to be found in stores, your finer local groggeries still have some jacked-up-priced bottles hanging around in the back room and indeed I’ve since had it several more times.  Aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat (no clue what that means), and re-fermented with champagne yeast.  A filthy black pour that instantly stains the sides of your glass.  A deliciously boozy aroma of chocolate, vanilla, and much roasted coffee.  The oaked bourbon sensations absolutely pummels my tongue.  I half-expect to piss stout ever time I finish a bottle.

2.  Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (bottled and tap)

Surely one of the most economical great beers in all of America as a six-pack–seriously, what 10% beer comes in a six-pack?!–usually only runs around $12.  That thriftiness could surely factor into one’s rankings, but it in no way factors into mine here.  Here we’re only talking about taste and, luckily, Black Chocolate Stout packs a ton.  Six varieties of chocolate, black, and roasted malts, complex and perfectly balanced, smooth and drinkable with no alcoholic bite whatsoever.  I slightly prefer Black Ops, but I drink Black Chocolate Stout by a degree of ten more.  Recently, I’ve started seeing vintage kegs of this–ones as old as 2006–at the city’s more respectable watering holes such as Blind Tiger and Downtown Bar & Grill.

3.  Southampton Grand Cru (bottled)

When I made the trek out to the Southampton Publick House just over a month ago, never did I think I would fall in love, but I did, with this masterpiece of a beer.  Absolutely packed with flavor and complexity, tastes of dried orange peel, coriander, star anise, pineapple, mangoes, a touch of sweet malts, and a slight delicious mustiness, the Grand Cru is about as tasty as beer gets.  Not to mention, for the ABV (9.8%) this is as drinkable as lemonade and I had to slow myself down so I could actually properly savor it.  I’d really like to have a bottle of this in my apartment at all times as it is perhaps the best American “Belgian” beer around.

4.  Ithaca Brute (bottled)

My #5 beer gets all the buzz in the New York state wild ale game, which is weird considering this is a Beer Advocate Top 100 beer…and it’s actually better than the Cuvee de Castleton.  Brute, from Ithaca’s Excelsior! line, is fermented in oak with three champagne yeasts rendering it sparkly, carbonated, and effervescent.  The nice sweet citron tastes of it makes Brute almost like a beer mimosa.  Of course it has a subtle sourness and maybe lacks a little complexity but this still remains one of the most balanced yet flavorful wild ales I’ve ever had.

5.  Captain Lawrence Cuvee de Castleton

Perhaps New York state’s most annually anticipated beer–one has to stand in a long line in a parking lot with enormous nerds in order to score a rare and highly coveted bottle–this limited release lives up to its hype.  On its label it is enticingly described as a “…combination of Belgian style ale which has been re-fermented with hand picked Muscat grapes & aged in wine barrels. As the beer ages in the oak it undergoes a secondary fermentation using the wild yeast known as Brettanomyces.”  Very carbonated and with some great bite, it smells and tastes of white grapes and spices too, lemons and green sour apples. You’d have a hard time convincing a lot of people that this is actually beer, but that’s a great thing in this case.

6.  Southern Tier Unearthly/Oaked Unearthly (bottled and tap)

Southern Tier’s “regular” DIPA, Unearthly, is arguably the best of its style on the East Coast.  It tastes so fresh and so clean, with a malty booziness that almost makes it into a barley wine.  Oaked Unearthly is even better.  Sweeter and even maltier with strong vanilla flavors from the oak, though some zesty citrus and pine comes through.  Both of these are “state-of-the-art” pushing the envelope outside the box IPAs from the always-inventive Southern Tier.  But the best compliment I can give them is that–despite the fact I am a man that is always looking to try something new–if I enter a bar with either of these on tap, there’s no fucking way I can neglect to order a glass.

7.  Ommegang Hennepin (bottled and tap)

Probably New York’s most purely drinkable beer, I usually order this 7.7% saison for my macro-beer drinking friends after “forcing” them to go to my nerdy beer bars.  Sweet and fruity with just the slightest and most subtle spicy funk, this one drinks like a bottle of Gatorade.  Another great Belgianized beer from New York, I honestly think this might be the best saison on planet earth nowadays.  I’m always happy to have a glass.

8.  Captain Lawrence Captain’s Reserve Double IPA (bottled and tap)

The other beer in the debate for New York’s best DIPA, the Captain’s Reserve is much hoppier in taste than the Unearthlies and smells like a sack of fresh weed.  The fact that it was, until very very recently, only available on tap, meant that it was as fresh-tastingly hoppy as can be, having been “born”–as those charlatans at Anheuser Busch might say–at the source just days earlier.

9.  Captain Lawrence Nor’easter (bottled)

With a third beer on my top ten list, Captain Lawrence could most certainly reign supreme as the king of New York breweries.  Nor’Easter is their special winter release, a sui generis Belgian dark ale brewed with elderberries (whatever the fuck those are) and aged in bourbon barrels.  This is a beer that as you’re drinking it you aren’t unequivocally wowed, but once you’re done, you can’t stop thinking about how goddamn impressive it was.  You’re also silly drunk.

10.  Brooklyn Local 1 (bottled)

Both the third Brooklyn Brewery beer on my list and the third American “Belgian” as well.  I never particularly loved this beer upon its initial release several years ago but as time has gone on, and with this past year’s release of Local 2, I revisited the Local 1 for comparative purposes…and was floored.  Spicy, yeasty, and candied, brewmaster Garrett Oliver considers this beer his “strong saison.”  I consider it imminently drinkable and delicious and I’m thinking that perhaps its awesome tastes were just too subtle for my immature palette back when I first slugged it.

Notables:

Brooklyn Intensified Coffee Stout (tap)
Ithaca White Gold
(bottled)
Middle Ages Wailing Wench (bottled)
Ommegang Rouge (tap)
Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Sout (bottled)
Southern Tier Pumking (bottled and tap)

The Top Highly-Accessible Beers

Solid brews that can be located at pretty much every bar, restaurant, bodega, deli, gas station, and massage parlor in this fair town.  These are also lower ABV beers you can drink dozens of in a night.

1.  Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold (tap)

If and when Captain Lawrence ever starts bottling and distributing its full line, I am almost certain this beer will become an iconic session beer in America, akin to, say, a Dogfish Head 60 Minute.  Belgian pale ale Liquid Gold is so damn tasty and so unbelievably drinkable, I am always excited when a bar I’m drinking at “just” has this on tap.  Why thank you very much and keep ‘em coming!

2.  Brooklyn Lager (bottled, canned, and tap)

This was the beer I always ordered “way back when,” nearly a decade ago, when I didn’t know shit about beer and kinda just cared about getting drunk.  It seemed to taste good enough back then.  Nowadays, every time I’m “forced” to get this at a bar with the most meager of tap lists, I’m certain my sophisticated–nay, pretentious–tongue will no longer enjoy this.  But, boy, am I always wrong and my eyes are always opened again and again by what must be the tastiest pure lager on the east coast.  This could easily be called the official beer of New York City.

3.  Sixpoint Bengali IPA (tap)

Why order a single IPA when you can order an asskicking double instead?  Because Bengali exists!  Incredibly balanced in both hops and malts, this tap-only selection from straight outta Brooklyn is as fine as they come.

4.  Blue Point Blueberry (bottled and tap)

I remember the first time a girl told me to try this on tap.  I wanted to fornicate with her so I placated her and ordered one.  And my eyes popped out of my head.  I couldn’t believe how refreshing, flavorful, and subtly fruity this was.  Like a liquid Eggo waffle!  I must have drank 500 pints of this back in the summer of 2006 and though I eventually got burned out on it a bit, I still greatly enjoy it from time to time.

5.  Brooklyn Weiss (bottled and tap)

I don’t particularly love wheat beers, but damn if this one isn’t tasty.  A great smell with a refreshing yeasty taste, slight banana flavor, citrus esters, and even hints of bubble gum. And, of course, some full-bodied wheat potency. This ain’t no watered-down hefeweizen.  Simply delicious.

Others of note:  Blue Point Hoptical Illusion, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Brooklyn Brown, Ommegang Witte, Saranac Pomegranate Wheat, Sixpoint Sweet Action, Southampton Double White Ale, Southampton IPA.

This was a fun little exercise.  I’d greatly encourage my readers and other beer bloggers to do the same.  I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on their fine states’ Top Ten brews (California?  Pennsylvania?  Colorado?  Michigan?  Minnesota?).  So have at it!

Cheers and happy drinking!

Aaron Goldfarb

*Notable beers I have yet to try (ie. please find them for me and send them to me too!):

Blue Point Old Howling Bastard, Brooklyn Blue Apron Ale, Captain Lawrence Little Linda’s Liquid, Captain Lawrence Rosso E Marrone, Captain Lawrence Smoke from the Oak (any and all), Ithaca Alphapha, Ithaca ELEVEN, Southampton Imperial Russian Stout, Southampton Saison Deluxe.

Brooklyn Katz’s Ale

July 15th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: B-/C+, Style: Brown Ale

ABV unknown, on tap

(Earlier today a VB commentator wrote:  “why, oh why, is this becoming just another beer blog?… get ye into the streets and find us adventure!”  Though this post will be “just another beer blog” post, mea culpa!, I want to assure this kindly man, or woman, that I will be back with a vengeance immediately after this post with an onslaught of adventure posts.  Be ready.)

And here is one of the great things about living in New York.  In most cities, you’re drunk at 3, 4 AM, you better hope you got a frozen pizza at home.  Maybe you can hit an all-night Taco Bell for “fourth meal.”  You live in one of the major, major cities on this planet, you can probably find some good pizza, a good burger, a cheesesteak, or other local delicacy late night.  But in New York, man, drunk at 3 AM in the morning, you can have one of the finest sandwiches in the world at the finest deli in the world.

Tired of dealing with summer interns and youthful morons corrupting the Lower East Side as we bar-hopped last Friday, my friend looked at me at around 2:30 and said, “You know, fuck it.  Fuck drinking any more.  Let’s go get a pastrami sandwich.”  Genius!  I had never heard of a better idea.  And a nice pastrami and corn beef on rye, schmear of spicy mustard, with a side of matzo ball soup…well, that’s better than any cramped bar, any overpriced bar tab, and picking up any miserable woman to spend the rest of your night with.

I’m not going to give a Katz’s itself a full-scale review…yeah, it’s a tad overpriced, yeah it’s cash only, yeah it has the harshest lighting this side of standing five feet from an angry cop’s halogens, yeah it has a surly staff, and yeah it has the occasional tourist taking a dopey picture of the “When Harry Met Sally” spot.  But, despite all that, the sandwiches are heaven on earth.  As good as meat between bread can be since the day the Earl of Sandwich came up with the idea.

And though we’d already said, “Fuck drinking” by this point of the night, while in line I had an epiphany.

“Hey, wait a second, Aaron, didn’t you read that Brooklyn Brewery makes a special beer for Katz’s?” the Vice Devil on my left shoulder whispered in my ear.

My friend disputed it.  No way.  How ridiculous!

He shouldn’t have.  Garrett Oliver seemingly makes a unique beer for every goddamn restaurant, venue, stadium, and food stand in the city.  He is truly the hardest working man in brewing.  The motherfucking James Brown of beermaking.

I am nothing if not a cheerleader for Brooklyn Brewery, an avowed religious worshiper and evangelical trumpeter of Mr. Oliver and his magical beers.  I give them hosannas left and right, but it would be pure bias not to review the rare Brooklyn beer that I absolutely did not care for.  Maybe it was because it was 3 AM and I was somewhat drunk, maybe it was because I had just eaten a pound of cured meat, maybe the pounding overhead lights were making me dizzy, it’s hard to say, but I simply think this is not a good beer, and a totally inappropriate beer to pair with deli.  Which is odd, since Oliver is the beer pairing master par excellence.  Hell, he even wrote the book on it!  (Highly recommended.)

Katz’s Ale is an overly syrupy and malty brown ale, more like a dopplebock on the mouthfeel, and I simply could not choke it down.  It wasn’t unflavorful, necessarily, it wasn’t bad, exactly, it was just not good, and a terrible match for what I was eating.  Unfortunately, I could barely finish it.

Still, I’m grateful to have tried one of the rarer drafts in New York.

B-/C+

The Brooklyn Brewery Beers of Citi Field

June 30th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Grade: B regular, Style: Pale Ale, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

I’m a Yankees fan, but sometimes my friends can talk me into joining them for a nice and relaxing minor league baseball game.  Such was the case when I made my first visit to the Mets’ new Citi Field last week.  A visit that I eagerly anticipated–not for the baseball, but rather upon learning that Garrett Oliver had crafted some special brews for the ballpark’s Danny Meyer-owned concession stands.  This was especially exciting considering new Yankee Stadium’s lackluster beer and food selections.

Shackmeister Ale  (The Shake Shack)

ABV unknown

The most “famous” of Citi’s beer and food selections, this pale ale is also available at Manhattan’s two Shake Shack locations.  Just like its out-in-the-real-world counterparts, The Shake Shack concession is known for its overwhelmingly long lines, up to two or three innings waits I have been told.  Thus, I had no plans to stand single file with the hoi polloi, especially considering I find the highly-regarded Shack burger to be just a tad overrated (Lucky’s in Hell’s Kitchen has a burgerstand burger just as good and the wait will be like a hour less for you).  However, that all changed when a light rain delay sent the crowds home early and I was able to unzip the nylon ropes, slap the stanchions out of my way, and march straight to the front of the line where Dat (pictured above) gave me a foamy pint of the Shackmeister as well as some acupuncture advice (thanks, Dat, my lumbar region has never felt better).  The Shackmeister is a solid enough beer, quite tasty with nicely balanced English malts and Glacier hops, and an unexpected lemony zest and summery spiciness.

B

Blanche de Queens (Box Frites)

4.5% ABV

I’m a sucker for common foods pronounced in their fancy European way–just makes them taste better–and such is the case with Belgian frites.  Most unfortunately, it’s a crime against Jean-Claude Van Damme to call these anything more than frozen bagged American french fries dropped into a ballpark frialator.  Available with countless dipping sauces, I was excited when the girl gave me an extra tub of their bacon mayo “just for bein’ cute,” but a few minutes later I would realize she had probably been hired for a contract hit against me by some angry Leinenkugel enthusiasts.  The bacon mayo is surely one of the most ghastly things to enter my mouth in a while.  Luckily, it’s “paired” witbier, the only-available-in-Citi(-at-least-under-this-name) Blanche de Queens  is a helluva of swell ballpark brew.  Very yeasty and full-bodied, at first I thought this might be a saison with it’s spiciness and smooth drinkability.  I grew bored of it after my first pint, but it’s still a terrific hot weather beer, a perfect example of what a Blue Moon could taste like under a master craftsman’s hands.  I think your macro-loving friends will enjoy this one.

B

Sabrosa Ale (El Verano Taqueria)

ABV unknown

The shortest line in the centerfield foodcourt is for the taco stand, but it shouldn’t be, as the food got rave reviews from my crew.  And its paired Citi-only beer was the evening’s clear winner as well.  The taste I could only describe as being that of a very flavorful and spicy lager*, like Brooklyn Lager mixed with a packet of taco seasonings.  A perfect complement to Mexican food but delicious on its own as well.  This is a beer I would gladly drink at normal bars and even buy bottled.  Very nice.  It’s great to have such desirable offerings at a ballpark.

B+

A few notes:

I never got around to having the Blue Smoke BBQ stand’s special blended beer, but that’s easily had at its Manhattan restaurant.

All the Brooklyn beers at Citi are a reasonable $7.50 while the cruddy Buds and what-have-yous are $6.

The concession workers are really happy and nice, and don’t even mind some a-hole holding up the lengthy lines to take pictures of taps.

*For the record, the one review of Sabrosa on Beer Advocate calls it an American Pale Ale, but I’m somewhat dubious of that style listing for the time being.

Brooklyn Cuvee de Cardoz

June 21st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A-/B+, Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

8.5% ABV on draught

I’m always excited when the Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver releases yet another of his wonderful, and unfortunately limited and tap-only, Brewmaster Reserve beers and I always hightail it to whatever bar has them available.  Such was the case last weekend when I was “forced” to make my first visit to a now new favorite bar of the Vice Blog, Rattle ‘n’ Hum, to try this most unique brew on tap.

I had thought it was going to be a saison, Brooklyn Brewery calls it a spiced wheat ale, and Rate Beer and Beer Advocate a Belgian Strong Ale.  Whatever the case, the inspiration for this beer is quite interesting, take it away stuff I didn’t write:

Our brewmaster is fond of pointing out that his closest peers, after other brewers, are chefs rather than winemakers. Brewers, like chefs, start with an idea and then build that idea into a reality through the use of ingredients and technique. A few years ago, Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver, an avid home cook, attended a class on spicing conducted by Floyd Cardoz, the Executive Chef of the justly famed Indian-inflected New York City restaurant Tabla. And a few new beer ideas started to form…

Raised in Bombay and Goa, Chef Cardoz trained in India and Switzerland before moving to New York City. After a five-year stint at the venerable restaurant Lespinasse, he opened Tabla with restauranteur Danny Meyer in 1998. Since then he’s earned a boatload of accolades (including three stars from The New York Times), not only for his Indian cooking but also for his ability to infuse Western cuisine with Indian spices and soul. In 2006, Chef Cardoz published his first cookbook, One Spice, Two Spice.

Now chef and brewmaster have combined their inspirations to bring you Brooklyn Cuvée de Cardoz. This golden wheat beer starts with a base of malted barley and unmalted wheat and then builds upon it a delicate balance of exotic spices selected by Chef Cardoz and then toasted and ground in the kitchens at Tabla. Ginger, tamarind, mace, black pepper, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and chilies are added in the kettle, and then the beer is infused with toasted coconut after the fermentation. Combined with our yeast and light hopping, these spices give the beer a gentle, complex perfume, a full fruity palate, and long, drying finish with a very faint prickle of heat.

Nicely written.  Now back to some words from the hack…

I love Mr. Oliver’s obsession with making beer a part of the entire culinary experience (watch this great video!) and while I drank this without a pairing of Indian food, I could tell it would be a swell match.  Hell, it was swell just by itself.  Spicy, yeasty, and a favorite description of mine:  dangerously drinkable.  I don’t even know what exactly most of the above spices in the beer even are, but the corriander, cloves, and especially chilies shine through nicely.  I’m not going to advise you to sprint out to get this one, it’s certainly not as great as Garrett’s previous effort, the Intensified Coffee Stout, but this is still another stellar, inventive effort from one of my beer idols.  A great, refreshing, yet still potent beer for summer.

A-/B+

Note:  I’d also like to say how cool it is that Garrett Oliver makes a special beer for several Danny Meyer restaurants.  The Cuvee de Cardoz for Tabla, the Blue Smoke Blend for the BBQ joint of the same name, and the Shackmeister for the vaunted Shake Shack to name a few.

Brooklyn Local 2

May 9th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale


9% ABV from a 750 mLer

I typically have a steel trap of a memory, yet for some reason I can never recall important dates.  People’s birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, noted days of celebration.  Hell, I know for a fact that Mother’s Day is tomorrow yet I’ll probably still soon forget that fact.  Luckily, I got sisters to remind me of these things just in the nick of time for making a phone call to mom.  Women are always better at that stuff than guys.  They actually seem to care about essentially meaningless yearly occurrences.

I found myself this morning fighting of a hangover from last night’s drinking which included Brooklyn’s fairly new Local 2.  I wasn’t the hugest fan of Local 1, but this is a splendid example of a Belgian dark from one of my favorite American brewers.  A very light odor.  The taste is a tad more subtle than I expected with honey, orange peel, “raw wildflower honey” from an upstate NY farm, dark fruits, caramel, and a hint of chocolate along with the expected Belgian yeastiness and dark candi sugar all thrown together in the stunning 750 mL cork-and-caged 100% refermented bottle.  Kudos to the man, Garrett Oliver, yet again.

Now as I’m trying various methods to eliminate my hangover–pots of coffee, bacon greasiness, push-ups, Facebook fucking around, and bad movies on HBO–I begin to wonder how close I am to the one-year anniversary of this here Vice Blog.  Sure enough and not surprisingly, I’m a good four days late.  It was 369 days ago when I started the first incarnation of The Vice Blog on hipster blogging platform Tumblr with this poorly written and quite boring post.  I quickly realized that Tumblr lacked everything I possibly needed in a platform, switched to Wordpress, and the rest is history.  And by “history,” I mean like five people I know seem to bookmark this site.

I thought I might as well meaninglessly celebrate the first year (and four days) of The Vice Blog with a gratuitously egomaniacal “best of” poll below.  Please, none of you computer geeks out their spend all weekend creating a bot so as to hack my poll and get your preferred choice the victory.

Best of The VB's First Year?

View Results

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For a refresher course on the above options, here’s linkage to the above stories:

The Found Cell Phone (Part II) (Bangladeshi Mystery Whiskey)
Many Different Bars, Many Different Girls
(Brooklyn Intensified Coffee Stout)
Beer and Clam Broth? La combinacion perfecta!
(Bud Light Chelada)
Pitch ‘n’ Putt ‘n’ Get Yourself Drunk
(Budweiser)
Aaron Tries to Hard at “Friendly” Drinking Games
(Coors Light)
Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Video Review
I Hate St. Patty’s Day
(Flat Earth Winter Warlock)
Aaron Visits a “North Country” New York Wal-Mart, He Will Never Be the Same
(Molson Export)
The Hooker Lottery
(PBR)
My Porno Hook-Up
(Samuel Adams Winter Lager)
Wrinkly Facebook
(Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner)
Sunrise on a Murphy Bed
(Smithwick’s)
The Vice Blogger and the Alkie
(Stone Ruination IPA)

Cheers!

Aaron

A-

Brooklyn Intensified Coffee Stout

April 8th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 14 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Stout

8.5% on draught

There seems to be a common refrain that you can never have a happy future with a girl you picked up at a bar. People always snicker, “Huh huh, wouldn’t want to meet your future wife there.”  Well why not?  I have at least four friends–conservative friends even–that met their wives at bars and all of them currently have swimmingly longstanding relationships. This is 2009, not the fucking Roaring Twenties.* You can most certainly meet your future wife at a bar.  Just depends what kind of future wife you want.  And what kind of man you are.

DIVE BAR

She: is an underemployed alcoholic with a minor STD or two whose face you’d never want to see in the  harsh daylight and who ends each night vomiting wherever she sees fit.

You: are an emetophiliac.

FAUX DIVE BAR

She: is into drinking pitchers of beer and isn’t concerned about her shoes getting sawdust on them.

You: are the kind of guy that enjoys the romantic bohemian notion of being a Bukowskiesque barfly but has too much cowardice to start drinking at 9 AM, get into alley brawls, and ruin your liver because even though you fucking hate your accounting job you really don’t want to lose it and have to tell your mother.

MIDTOWN HAPPY HOUR BAR

She: rarely goes out to bars and only did this one time because her co-workers forced her and now she’s done and gotten drunk off of two white wine spritzers and will soon enough start loudly singing along to trite songs like “Brown Eyed Girl” even though she thinks its opening line is “Hey there, Rodrigo!”

You: are not into loosening your tie just one millimeter before heading into the bar because you think women are actually impressed that you have a job that necessitates wearing a suit even though most wealthy people nowadays don’t wear suits while such occupations as doorman, movie theatre usher, parking attendant, and rent-a-cop security guard are always besuited.

HIPSTER BAR

She: listens to bands you’ve never heard of, reads books you’ve never read, has lots of skinny and scruffy platonic male friends who bitch about the fact that the bar sucks ever since it replaced its shitty old-fashioned quarter jukebox for one of those awesome digital Bose ones that hold 100,000 songs, and lives in Brooklyn on her parents’ dime.

You: have no issues with pretending you’ve heard of her obscure bands, read her obscure books, hanging with her “platonic” friends that you are certain fuck her and make fun of you behind your back for ordering Tom Petty from the Bose jukebox, and having two-borough walks of shame in the morning.

IRISH PUB

She: is a bit chubby, a prodigious drinker, eats most of her meals at the bar, and gives frequent mouth congress.

You: consider romance to be dates that begin with a shared Shepherd’s Pie followed by countless pints of Guinness and relationship that ultimately culminates in a dream wedding which includes you dancing your first dance to “One” because you’re a fucking moron that doesn’t realize the song is about breaking up.**

GAY BAR

She: is so annoying no women will be friends with her.

You: are into faking you are a homosexual in order to capitalize on insane Men’s Night drink specials (2 for 1 WooWoos?!) and are willing to capitulate to an “Ivy League rub” at the end of the night if you strike out with the bar’s fag hag or two.

LESBIAN BAR

She: is a lesbian.

You: are too daft to notice the giant rainbow decal on the bar’s front door and wonder why the place is so packed with stuck-up bitches you can’t spit game to.  Or, you are just way into standing on the sidelines during tribadism sessions.

HOTEL BAR

She: is an aging recent divorcee that had a tiresome day window shopping on Fifth Avenue and is very much into scoring a self-esteem boost before returning to Tulsa.

You: are into intentionally guessing that women are fifteen years younger than you know they really are (”48?!  No way!  You look 35 at most.”), drunkenly making out while the piano player pounds out “Lover’s Sonata,” disgusting the old men bartenders that wear aprons, breaking your personal “record,” and ordering a $25 room service Western omelet in the morning on her tab after having killed her minibar at 4 AM the previous night.

AIRPORT BAR

She: likes killing times during long layovers by drinking Bloody Marys cheaply made with Mr. & Mrs. T’s mix and Absolut, wanderlusting, and flirting with strangers.

You: always kill time by getting drunk at the nearest bar, flirt with anything that will listen, and have enough hubris to think that telling her you are from New York will get her to drop her panties in the airplane lavatory for you.

KARAOKE BAR

She: is a slightly overweight drama queen with a lot of gay friends.

You: are a slightly underweight and majorly effete dude that thinks performing an ironic duet of Neil and Babs’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” will sufficiently stand as foreplay before heading back to her apartment for some mammarian outercourse.

WINE BAR

She: is a snooty, pretentious, lush that still lives her life according to “Sex & the City” and has a bookshelf at home with predominately pink covered books about the “dos” and “don’ts” of dating.

You: are either on a date at the very moment or a homosexual.  Seriously, no single man goes to a wine bar.

STRIP CLUB

She: is a stripper.

You: are a rapper or professional athlete with a tattoo and fake tit fetish who wants a few more illegitimate bastards in your life.

CHILI’S BAR

She: lives in the kind of crappy burg that doesn’t have any place better to drink at, forcing her to sit at the overlit chain restaurant bar swigging margaritas and praying that this is the night a man finally walks into the bar that she didn’t go to high school with.

You: are in some shitty town on business and couldn’t find any other place to get a drink.  But, seriously, Chili’s margaritas are fucking delicious.

FANCY RESTAURANT BAR

She: is the kind of gal that sits alone nursing a $15 Manhattan (heavy on the sweet vermouth) waiting for some rich and aging pathetic loser to offer to buy her dinner.  Or, she’s a high-priced hooker.

You: are the kind of rich and pathetic loser that can only obtain female companionship by offering to buy a steak for them.  Or, sex from them.

SPORTS BAR

She: is either a legitimate “guy’s girl” that truly has a passion sports (10% chance), a girl that likes watching the big game and knows she looks cute in a tight football or basketball jersey (40%), or thinks it pretty savvy to go looking for dick at a bar with a 90/10 male/female ratio despite the fact that the former is intently watching the game while sloppy on beer and covered in wing sauce.

You: are the kind of guy that doesn’t subscribe to the “bros before hos” credo and will, at the drop of the hat, quit watching a game you supposedly passionately care about to flirt with a marginal girl who doesn’t even know who Lebron is, raising your friends’ ire.

LOUNGE

She: is the kind of girl that will assume you’re rich and come talk to you if you wear a blazer and get bottle service.

You: are the kind of fool that gets bottle service and can only ejaculate via irrumation.

DANCE CLUB

She: doesn’t like to wear underpants and can only seduce men who never get a chance to hear her speak.

You: are a bad conversationalist, ugly, dumb, maybe wealthy, don’t like your ear drums, enjoy dance floor frottage, possess drugs.

JUST-OUT-OF-COLLEGE BAR

She: is semi-annoying but fun, thin and in shape, and likes doing shots until she is slurring.

You: are a successful beer blogger that will put up with a semi-annoying little pop tart because she is fit and fun and you know she has no interest in getting married, having kids, and moving back to Poughkeepsie any time soon.

CRAFT BEER BAR

She: is either the bartender or not in such a geek hangout.

You: are drinking alone with other beer geeks.

Such as where I had Brooklyn’s newest release, their glorious Intensified Coffee Stout.  Wow.  By far the most aromatically coffee brew I’ve ever had.  As the bartender slowly drew it into a snifter, the entire bar began to smell like a little mom & pop cup ‘o’ Joe joint.  I knew I was in for a great treat.  And the taste was even more phenomenal.  Not an overly complex beer, just simple and splendid ingredients–Stumptown Guatemalan Full City Roast Coffee Beans and chocolate malts–flawlessly put together.

At the bar, I started to again ponder something I’ve wondered for a while:  are coffee beers caffeinated?  So, when I got home I decided to send a slightly tipsy e-mail straight to the source, Brooklyn’s always affable brewmaster Garrett Oliver who quickly wrote me back:

“Though we have not had it tested, our calculations are that the beer contains, per volume, about one-third the caffeine of brewed coffee. We based this on the volumes, our technique, and the coffee we use. It’ll certainly give a little boost to your day!”

Indeed it did, especially for a beer, coffee, and caffeine fiend like myself.

Currently only on limited draught, I truly hope this becomes a regular release.  Up there with Black Ops and Brewmasters Reserve Extra Brune as my favorite beer they’ve ever made.

A

*Though I certainly wouldn’t mind a flapping Zelda Fitzgerald type in my life.

**U2’s “One” that is.  Although a wedding first dance to Metallica’s “One” would actually be pretty awesome.  That song still rocks so hard.