By Cat Wolinski
As part of its ongoing Historical Brews series, Heartland Brewery has recently debuted the “New York Historic Series,” replicating pre-Prohibition-era beers from the city’s breweries that existed before the 18th amendment took effect. During that time, a total of 30 breweries operated in New York City alone.
“The [series] is our personal tribute to the original NYC brewing pioneers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” said Greg Balena, Heartland’s new director of beer operations. “I researched the breweries extensively and found their top selling beers, [then] tried to create a flavor profile similar to the flavors [I] read about.”
The New York Historic Series will kick off with a lager inspired by the George Ringler & Co. Brewers, which operated a lager brewery in Manhattan (90th to 92nd Sts. between 2nd and 3rd Aves.) between 1872 and 1924. The “Real German Lager Beer,” Balena said, was the staple brew of Geo. Ringler, which eventually became the third largest brewery in New York City. The first brew is a traditional light golden lager carrying well-balanced, mild flavors of biscuit and herbs, topped with a light touch of hop bitterness and sparkling effervescence, weighing in at 5.2%.
Second on the New York Historic brew schedule is a Kellerbier, based on Geo. Ehret’s Hell Gate Brewery. That beer will be released a week before Labor Day, Balena said. Both beers will be available at Houston Hall and Flatiron Hall in Manhattan, as well as at the Empire State Building location of Heartland Brewery. The series will roll out on a bi-monthly basis.
Balena said the series will mainly feature German-style lagers, since those were the most popular in New York at that time. “Most of the breweries in late 19th century [and] early 20th century happened to be operated by German immigrants,” he said. “Due to the massive influx of German immigrants, lager became the universal beer of the boroughs in the late 1800s. So, in honor of our NYC craft beer forefathers, grab yourself a Real German Lager Beer and ‘prost’ like a true New York original.”