Dogfish Head Noble Rot
The team from Delaware's Dogfish Head brewery loves to strut their latest "off-centered" ale at beer festivals and the NYC Beer Week Opening Bash was no exception. This time around, they brought Noble Rot, a saison-style ale dosed with both botrytis infected viognier grape must and pinot gris must. Drinking somewhere between a Belgian-style ale and a white wine, this is a brew that could win over your wine-drinking friends.
Peekskill Brewery Simple Sour
Ex-Ithaca head brewer Jeff O'Neil premiered his new brews from the Peekskill Brewery during NYC Beer Week to rave reviews. Our favorite was the Simple Sour. True to its name, this tart, sessionable wheat ale is similar to a German Berliner Weisse. Nuanced, but uncomplicated, the balance of malt and hops make this an excellent beer to drink with pork, or whenever you need a bit of acidity to cut through heavier dishes.
Brooklyn Brewery Cuvée de la Crochet Rouge Riesling
Brewmaster Garrett Oliver's passion for food-pairing beers is forcefully evident in this vinous variation of Brooklyn Brewery's Local One aged on botrytized riesling lees. Part of their "Ghost Bottles" series, the Cuvée conquers up the malty, citrus character of its base beer, while the extended aging adds a spirituous, tannic finish that made us hungry for rich winter dishes.
Billy Full-Stack IIPA from Singlecut Beersmiths
While less than a year old, Queens upstart brewery Singlecut Beersmiths has already made a mark on the NYC beer scene with their unique lagers and hop-forward ales. Our favorite is their 119 IBU hop-monster Billy Full-Stack IIPA. The biggest of their Billy IPA series, Full-Stack packs a serious one-two punch of bright citrus and dank pine notes layered over an assertive, but not aggressive bitterness. Take notice, West Coast, New York is coming for ya!
Barley BB10° (Dexi) Zymatore (Pinot Noir/Whiskey Barrel)
Lovers of strong ales lined up early for over 2 dozen strong ales at the annual Split Thy Brooklyn Skull event at Mug's Ale House. Our favorite of the bunch was this rare keg from Zymatore, the barrel-aging side project of importers B. United. The Barley BB10º, dosed with a heavy batch of wild bacteria, spent three years in Pinot Noir barrels followed by another one in whisky barrels for a blend of sweet and sour flavors as complicated to discern as this beer's name is to pronounce.
Brewery Ommegang's Art of Darkness
This Belgian Strong Dark Ale is a testament to the brewing mastery upstate at Brewery Ommegang The roasted nuttiness, hints of licorice, and dark stone fruit flavors are derived entirely from a diverse grain bill and Ommegang's proprietary house yeast. With a spritzy, Champagne-like carbonation, the Art of Darkness was one of the most accommodating beers to pair with food during Brewer's Choice.
Captain Lawrence Pilot Batch #25
While Captain Lawrence is renowned for their award-winning sour beers, they also know a thing or two about easy-drinking brews. Pilot Bath #25 is a dark Vienna lager with big flavors and a clean finish. The nutty, bready notes were the perfect beside the many pig-focused bites at aPORKalypse Now.
A departure from this brewery's traditional English-style ales, Smuttynose Bloom is a brew for Belgian beer lovers and locavores alike. The inclusion of 14 locally foraged, edible flower varieties adds an aromatic, almost perfume-like character to the earthy, full-bodied saison. This beer, which reminded us of Southampton's Cuvée des Fleurs, is a wonderful match for the delicate flavors and light acidity of spring salads.
Allagash Midnight Brett
Constantly reinventing the landscape of American beer, these beersmiths of Portland, Maine continue to turn out some of the best Belgian-style American beers. Midnight Brett is no exception. A seemingly basic dark wheat ale is fermented entirely with Allagash's house culture Brettanomyces strain. The lack of any traditional brewing yeast provides an array of flavors: tart, dark berries, earthy undercurrents, and even a hint of cocoa powder. Yet through it all, the beer retains its core roasted, bready quality to ultimately drink more like a refined, complex ale than a brewmaster's experiment gone wild.
Carton Boat Beer
Hopheads can rejoice in this sessionable New Jersey IPA with West coast character. A German Kolsch yeast provides enough body to embrace the lemony, citrus flavors, while a 4.2% ABV lets you get your hop and still make it to work the next day.