I’ve wanted to go back to Brooklyn Brewery since my first and only visit in September. How can I resist the lure of 5 beer tickets for 20$, experimental beers on tap and a place where they don’t yell at you for getting pizza delivered? So last Friday, I talked my friends into coming with me. And really, who can say no to tasty local brewskies?
Of course, I was totally silly and forgot to take pictures. I don’t even have any from my visit in September that I can pretend I took last weekend. I know, I know, what a n00b blogger move. Instead, I shall portray my evening through a variety of amusing GIFs. I promise you this won’t happen in the future.
The only downside to Friday night is that Brooklyn Brewery doesn’t do tours. However, they do throw open their tasting room to public shenanigans. You can try any of the ten beers on tap, a few of which are special brews you can’t get anywhere else. If you’re lucky enough, you can chill at one of the picnic-style tables. If not, you get to mill around and make new friends.
But let’s get right down to the reason why I was there: the sweet, sweet beers. Full disclosure – the reason I had been so keen to go to Brooklyn Brewery was because I had heard of their latest quarterly experiment, a sour ale aged in bourbon barrels with whole cherries called K Is for Kriek. Unfortunately, that wasn’t available, leading to some sadness.
But do not despair, fair readers (or fair Valerie)! By perusing Brooklyn Brewery’s website, I discovered that they will be having a debut tasting today at Beer Culture! I’ll save most of the chatter about K Is For Kriek for then, because I will be there, without a doubt. I just can’t resist a good sour beer.
I did try two new beers, as well as having one of my favorites and shelling out for a beautifully delicate souvenir tulip glass that I managed to carry home on the subway without so much as a bag or a box.
I started off the night with a tall glass of Sai Kanifing, the special brew of the moment. This smoked pepper porter is part of a series called The Worshipful Company of Brewers, where each member of the brewing team gets to design their own beer, to be served exclusively in the tasting room. Sai Kanifing is the brainchild of packaging operator Saidou Ceesay, who was inspired by the spicy cuisine of Gambia. Let me tell you right off the bat that I’m not usually a huge fan of porters. I find most of them too heavy and sweet for my liking.
So when I tried the Sai Kanifing, I was pleasantly surprised. At 6.72%, it isn’t as punchy as some other beers on the menu – but more on that later. This is not your average porter; while it still has a robust, rounded body, the finish is less sweet and more smoky, with just a hint of spice near the end. It has a nice nuttiness to it as well – kind of like roasted hazelnuts. Maybe I’m getting a little blazé, but I could have used even more spice. I think I’m just really developing a thing for drinking spicy beers in the winter – it just seems fitting, somehow.
Actually, gaining an appreciation for styles I don’t usually like seemed like the theme of the evening. After polishing off the Sai Kanifing, I went for the Quadraceratops, a quadruppel-style strong dark abbey ale. I’m usually not a fan of any beers made with Belgian yeast strains because they leave behind an undeniable banana taste that I find overwhelming. To my surprise, it totally worked in the Quadraceratops. The banana was present, but not too overwhelming. In fact, it nicely complemented the booziness of this 9.9% beer. The mouthfeel was almost syrupy. It tasted a lot like someone had taken a slice of hearty banana bread and had soaked it in rum – which is absolutely not a bad thing.
I finished off the night with my gorgeous souvenir glass and a bottle pour of Local 2, a dark abbey ale brewed with raw wildflower honey, orange peel and dark candi sugar. The honey is really prominent both in the taste and the aroma, and it’s got a really beautiful sweetness to it that’s cut by citrus. Not a light beer at 9%, but absolutely delicious.
Of course, there was a ton of other stuff on the menu too; the East IPA, the Lager, the ½ Ale and more. Well, that’s why I brought my friends. I mean, I obviously didn’t invite them along just for the company. I also drank out of all their glasses and tried all their beers. That’s what friends are for, right?
Stay warm, everyone!