25 years ago, Brooklyn Brewery started; a guide to Brooklyn beers

When most of us think of Brooklyn Beer, we think of Brooklyn lager. Yet as we celebrate their 25th anniversary, there is so much nore. The Brooklyn Lager is the iconic beer that neighbors Steve Hindy and Tom Potter brewed to open Brooklyn Brewery in 1988. While Brooklyn Lager was contract brewed at first, they originally commissioned a 4th-generation German brewmaster for the recipe and facmous Milton Glaser (the "I love New York" logo) for their label. By 1994, BrewMaster Garret Oliver joined the mix. If Garret had not already created enough notoriety, in 2003 he published The BrewMaster's Table . On March 20, Brooklyn will celebrate their Twenty-Fifth Anniversary!

Many of us don't explore Brooklyn's craft beer often. But there are wonderful options beyond Brooklyn lager!

Brooklyn Pennant, a nod to the Brooklyn Dodgers, is a nice English pale ale, with a balance of malt and hops. Do not compare this to an American pale, think of an almost bready and yeasty Maris Otter start with a hop notes at the end from 4 hops. One of their regular perennials.

Brooklyn Blast which we find on tap now. At 9% ABV this beer gives you 9 hops for a"blast" of complex hop flavor. This one could be a sleeper because we taste the complex citrus, spicy, even some resin tones without packing a big hot punch.

Moving to the seasonals:
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout - I love this winter/spring beer. Absolutely opaque, black, that starts with chocolate and finishes like dark toast! at 9% this warms on the cold Brookly or Indiana (or Irish) night! As of this writing I can still find 4-packs around and I most recently had it on tap again.

Brooklyn Monster Ale. The Monster is 10% abv. Evaluation of this beer is linked with the age. The ale is brewed with 3 mashes of heirloom British malt but includes Willamette, Cascade, and American Fuggle hops. My most recent sample on tap was fresher with copper color, warming and some light breadiness, a taste of the alcohol, and some caramel. Brooklyn ages this beer for 4 months but evaluations of older bottles and posted tasting notes of vintage kegs reveals this beer becomes somewhat more complex with age.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace: This beer may be most unique because it allows almost no classification. Focusing on a combination of the Sorachi Ace hops developed in Japan (now from Wash. state) with Belgian yeast this makes a most unusual farmhouse ale. It provides lemongrass, a little lemon citrus, and a bubbly delight.

Brooklyn Local 1 I can drink this over and over.... A "Belgian style" bottle fermented beer with German malt plus cane sugar. High carbonation, medium body, sweetness with just a hint of hop IBU at the end and the Belgian quality that some call "bubble gum" Great as a beer to relax with and savor.

And beers we can't get, maybe ever again, but leave me desiring more future specialty releases!
Brewemasters Reserve beers are draft only, seasonal usually one-time introductions:

Brooklyn Gold Standard Export. This was a 2012 release in kegs and thanks to both Andrew of Brooklyn and Nathan of The Tap for finding a rare keg. This unfiltered kellerbier with floor-malted Bohemian barley has the New Glarus yeast strain (yep, not a collaboration except for NG giving Brooklyn some yeast) and German hops. Garret claims this should remind us of a beir-garten, and it certainly went that way for me! Prost!

Brooklyn Fiat Lux ("let there be light"). I am afraid to say wit, because it is "wit inspired" NOT a wit. Starting with Madsen White winter wheat, German perle hops, lime peel, corriander and 'magic' gave this beer a wonderful summer tasted and of my specialty samplings of about 10 Brooklyn beers over 2 days, this is one of my top 2 favorites. I'll be looking to see what the Brewers follow this with in 2013!

Okay, my favorite.
Brooklyn Black Ops! I LOVE bourbon barrel stouts. Each year this one varies just a bit. the most recent was 10.7% A Russian Imperial stout only 1000 cases are released each year. Bottle fermented with Champagne yeast and aged abot 4 months in the wood this complex beer has big bourbon aroma with vanilla and oak leading to chocolate plus dark fruit and finishing almost like sweet coffee. This is a beer that I would rather sip than write about. I discovered with Garret's help that this beer can warm to room temperature and deliver a wonderful complex flavor! Likely because of the yeast this finishes a bit light compared to most RIS and has just a tad less body than most.

Happy Anniversary to Steve Hindy, Tom Potter, Garrett Oliver and Brooklyn Beer. May I be able to drink your beer for 25 more years!


Greg Kitz

special thanks to Andrew Maxon of Brooklyn Brewing and to Garrett Oliver himself for sharing!


Kathleen Slauzis said...

I love Sorachi Ace, Black Chocolate Stout & Black Ops!

Neal Danison said...

Greg enjoyed the info on Brooklyn Brewing. Neal

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