4% ABV from a sixer
Who knew Harlem had a brewery? I sure didn’t, and I live only 70 blocks from it. Though it’s hardly a brewery as this is the lone beer they make. Seems more like a homebrewer just had the gumption to get some slick labels printed up at Mail Boxes Etc. and then secured some minor local distribution. And though the beer’s name is cool, and the labels are indeed cool, the beer is unfortunately marginal.
Harlem’s aforementioned brewmaster is Celeste Beatty, an African-American woman. And being that I only know of one other black brewmaster (Brooklyn’s Garrett Oliver) and zero female brewmasters, I’m assuming Ms. Beatty is the only black female brewmaster in America.
I wanted to have some homtown pride, I wanted to support the little gal, and I’m notorious–like most white folks–for overrating Harlem stuff as Cotton Club, Apollo Theatre, Malcolm X-type cool, but unfortunately Sugar Hill has some problems.
It smells fine. Mild hints of malt and grain. I thought it might actually be good. The taste is fine too, a decent little sweetness. The problem is that it’s just so damn thin. Amp these exact flavors up and produce a 6% beer and now we’d be talking, but as it stands now this is just beer-flavored water. Why would a brewery make their one beer so meager? I finished an entire six-pack in about 45 minutes and wasn’t anywhere close to drunk. Though, I was already hungover. Figure that one out.
Suggested motto: “Harlem Brewing Company: Beers that skip the most cherished step in drinking — getting drunk!”