NYC Dec 17 – It’s Winter But IPAs Still Rule
Chris Cuzme at the newly Fifth Hammer Brewing Co, in Long Island City
By Cat Wolinski
Yes, New York, winter is here. With that, you may be expecting an onslaught of imperial stouts, porters, winter warmers and other spiced ales concurrent with traditional trends. Yet along with New York City’s close to 35 breweries’ adeptness at pushing boundaries of brewing traditions, so too are they adept at pushing the boundaries of the seasons. Even as we head into the months-long chill of a city winter, IPAs still reign.
New beer bars on the horizon in the beer lover’s borough are BierWax, a “beer and vinyl” bar coming soon to Prospect Heights; and Jimbo Slims, a craft beer bar with tacos and grilled cheese, from the owners of Northern Bell in East Williamsburg.
Randolph Beer DUMBO officially opened its doors to the public at the end of October. Swing by this tech-savvy brewpub for 20+ taps including housemade beers (Hoppy Kolsch, Saison, ESB) and a longer list of local favorites. Catering to DUMBO’s tech crowd, you can order at the bar, or serve yourself at the self-pour taps (look for the sign reading, “BEER YOURSELF”). Elevated comfort food rounds out the experience with ample seating at the bar or beer hall-style tables (with outlets!). Note: Randolph has recently gone “cash free,” so bring your credit card.
In Sunset Park, Wartega has been showing off some good-looking bottles that fit right in with the season. Their latest bottle release at press time, Family First, is an ale brewed with figs, maple and ginger. Find it on sale in the tasting room.
In the fall, Five Boroughs Brewing Co. recently cheers’d to their first DIPAs available in cans: All Aboard!, brewed with flaked oats and double dry hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe; and Pineapple Local, brewed in collaboration with KCBC, with pineapple added mid-fermentation and DDH’d with Vic Secret and Mosaic.
In North Brooklyn, Greenpoint Beer & Ale has recently turned its kitchen over to the tortilla-slinging Maizey Sunday Tacos, who some may know from Smorgasburg. Wash down their handmade creations with the fruit-forward aromas and flavors of recent IPAs like the Double Dry Hopped Night Life IPA and Free Fall Double Dry Hopped Double IPA.
In Bushwick, Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC) continues to pump out a steady stream of new beer and can releases, and they are as delicious as they are attractive. Look for their recent 100% NY Pilsner, Strictly Taconic (5.1%), made with pilsner malt and rye from New York Craft Malt, and Crystal and Northern Brewer hops from Indian Ladder Farms. The complementary Strictly Plutonic (6.1%) is a stout with oats, rye and chocolate malt brewed in collaboration with Rockaway Brewing Co.
Speaking of Rockaway, this humble brewery has not only expanded from one to three locations in recent time, but has also expanded its traditional offerings to keep up with the times. Look out for new can designs with contents including sour ales (Sour Sands, 3.7% Berliner Weiss with guava) and IPAs (Tidal Variations, a series in V3 at press time). That being said, if you see Rockaway Black Gold on nitro, get it.
Right down the road, Fifth Hammer Brewing Co. from the NYC beer-famous Chris Cuzme and soon-to-be beer famous partner, David Scharfstein is up and running and already a popular spot. Brews will be changing up as the new brewery gets a feel for its customers, but unsurprisingly, the IPAs are currently the customer favorite. Be on the lookout for a German-style pils and other styles, too.
Singlecut recently collaborated with Nike (yes, that Nike) on Miles, a Marathon-themed session IPA, which was hazy, juicy and hopped to the brim. Look out for these guys as their brand expands. For wintry brews, look for their Heavy Boots of Lead imperial stout packed with Madagascar vanilla and cacao, or Dean, a “PNW Mahogany Ale.”
In other new brewery news, Alewife in Long Island City plans to build out a brewery soon. No news yet on Evil Twin’s imminent opening in Ridgewood. Stay tuned!
A new brewery-in-planning is rumored to be emerging on the Isle: Torch and Crown. Torch and Crown was a competitor in Brewbound’s Startup Brewery Challenge, a business pitch competition for new and emerging brands sponsored by Craft Brew Alliance. ASN will keep up with details as the boozy story develops.
Heartland Brewery releases the third offering in its legacy series with Jacob Ruppert Brewery Doppelbock. Producers of the best-selling beer in the US in the early 1900s, Ruppert’s most popular beers were the Knickerbocker, Ruppiner and Bock beer. Jacob Ruppert Brewery Doppelbock is on tap at all Heartland locations.
Also, The return of a Heartland fan favorite Old Red Nose Ale signifies the coming of the holiday season.
Manhattan is also home to two new beer bars. The Rochard adds a new place for beer, cocktails, oysters and other fare from the Beerly Legal Group (the Jeffrey, Fool’s Gold, Alewife) to the Upper East Side. Treadwell Park, also in the Upper East Side, opened a second location downtown, in Battery Park. Their Uptown location is also launching New York’s first “beer reserve room,” dubbed “The Cellar at Treadwell Park.” The private room will feature access to 30 international classics and rare beers for sampling. Starting off, the cellar is invitation-only, but the space is expected to become available for private tastings and “meet the brewer” events in the future.
The Bronx Brewery is touting its No Resolutions IPA (7.6%) to assist in the transition into a cold New York winter. The brewery also began a Brewers Dinner series in partnership with Edible Bronx, highlighting local, seasonal flavors of the eponymous borough. The first kicked off Oct. 6 with Brut Catering chef/owner, Kat Creech. Follow Bronx Brewery on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pg/TheBronxBrewery/events) for upcoming Brewers Dinner dates.
In November, Gun Hill Brewing Co. announced the imminent release of its Live From Jacobi IPA in cans. Jacobi is a “both coasts style IPA.” Be on the lookout, too, for Roll Call EC 6, the sixth iteration of Gun Hill’s Roll Call East Coast-style IPA.
Big news in the biggest borough! Staten Island is officially home to NYC’s newest brewery, Kills Boro Brewing Co., located at the same address as Craft House. Beers include Window Creep DIPA, Gimme, Gimme Blackberry Peach, a dessert sour, and King Kolsch, which they are classifying as an IPA. Why not? Plan yourself a Staten Island visit starting at Kills Boro (via free, 24-hour ferry) then head over to Flagship Brewing Co. within a few minutes’ walking distance.