Welcome to the Newbeerhood: February 2017


HAZY BASTARD (Blue Point Brewing)

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Blue Point has “hopped” on the Juice Caboose with its latest release, the brewery’s first New England-style IPA. This increasingly popular sub-genre—pioneered in the Northeast by Vermont’s The Alchemist and subsequently elevated to its current vogue by breweries in the region such as Tree House, Tired Hands, and Trillium, as well as beyond, most notably Monkish in California—differs from the IPA of past (early millennium-ish), which craft brewers defined with sharp flavors and palate-piledriving bitterness. Contrastingly, New England-style IPAs are baby-butt soft and barely bitter, cloudy in appearance due to being partially or wholly unfiltered, and pack juicy, tropical-fruit aromas and flavors. While water chemistry, specialty grain bills (utilizing wheat and oats) and yeast strain all play significant roles in achieving this flavor profile, an enhanced focus on dry-hopping—adding mega-doses of hops (especially those of neoteric varieties like Mosaic, Galaxy, and Citra) later in the brewing process to substantially boost flavor and aroma rather than bitterness; many breweries now specifically call attention to the beers that have been through two rounds of this amplification by adding “double dry-hopped” to their monikers—has become arguably the style’s best-known signifier. Furthermore, to help ensure the consumer experiences this delicate, fast-fading hop character as freshly as possible, these fragrant nectars are often packaged in 16-ounce cans and sold exclusively from their breweries, oftentimes both on the same day, in highly-limited quantities that draw massive lines of people—and now even placeholders (no less than The New York Times recently explored the culture this movement has spawned). Hazy Bastard, with its hop bill of Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic, Summit, and Cascade, was specifically conceived with these parameters in mind. Since being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2014, Blue Point has expanded its distribution to over 45 states, and a just-finalized plan to relocate its Patchogue headquarters in 2018 will drive future growth and expand brewing capabilities. Yet consistent with the smaller brewers making this style so popular, its first batch of juice was not made available to retailers, sold exclusively in 16-ounce cans at the tasting room. “We have limited capacity at our brewery,” explained brewmaster Dan Jansen, who developed the beer for six months. “But we felt like getting a great beer out to even a few folks is better than not getting it out at all.” Thus far, the haze-lusting masses appear to have agreed, with a very favorable aggregate rating on Untappd, a leading beer-tracking app. With its next iteration slated for March, someone (or someone’s chair) is likely already on line waiting. 8.0% ABV; $15 for four-pack of 16-ounce cans; Release TBD at 161 River Avenue, Patchogue; 844-272-2739.

Drink Now

HOOTCHIE MAMA (Barrage Brewing)

Steve Pominski, a big fan of “Seinfeld,” now brews three beers incorporating foods featured in episodes of the consecrated sitcom; they’re all brown ales. The latest, joining Yada Yada Yada (Snickers bars) and The Restivus (chocolate babka), uses Bosco Chocolate Syrup—nearly 40 pounds for the 150-gallon batch, added toward the end of the boil to maximize flavor. “It drinks just like chocolate milk,” Pominski said. 5.6% ABV; $6 for 13 ounces at 32 Allen Boulevard Unit E, East Farmingdale; 631-986-8066.

OPEN WIDE (Spider Bite Beer Co.)

Galaxy, Citra, and Nelson Sauvin hops equip this imperial IPA with aromas of tropical fruit, pine resin, and peaches. It was brewed to celebrate Spider Bite’s expanded tasting room, which was unveiled last week. The area is now double in size, at 540 square feet, and boasts a bigger bar, boosting seating from 10 to 25. 8.5% ABV; $6 for 12 ounces at 920 Lincoln Avenue Unit #5, Holbrook; 631-942-3255.

A NICE PEAR (BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant)

There’s no artificial flavoring in this warm-weather-evoking wheat beer; it was fermented with pear-and-apricot puree. The hazy, foam-capped creation is crisp and tingly. 5.1% ABV; $6 for 16 ounces at 67 West Main Street, Patchogue; 631-447-2337.

BRUNCH PORTER (1940’s Brewing)

Charlie Becker, whose father and great-grandfather were also professional brewers, made this porter using chocolate, Munich, and black-patent malts, cocoa nibs, and “just enough cherries for a hint of dark-fruit flavor.” 5.6% ABV; $6 for 16 ounces at 1337 Lincoln Avenue Unit #1, Holbrook; 631-533-4838.

WITTE CAP (Garvies Point Craft Brewery) Over 80 pounds of peach puree was added to this Belgian-style witbier after the fermentation process, contributing a “nice subtle peach flavor and roundness that compliments the citrus character from the Cascade hops, orange peel, and coriander,” said Ben Kossoff, who opened the Glen Cove brewery with Marc Scoroposki in 2015. (It sits near the Garvies Point development project and has a tasting room with six drafts.) Scoroposki described Witte Cap as “hazy and refreshing.” 5.2% ABV; $6 for 16 ounces at 1 Garvies Point Road, Glen Cove; 516-815-1999.

Looking A(le)head

THROW SOME MO’, DON’T SWEAT THE TECHNIQUE (Barrier Brewing and Other Half Brewing)

What happens when a couple of hop specialists collaborate twice, at their respective facilities? They make IPAs, not bake chocolate-chip cookies. These hoppy works will be packaged primarily in 16-ounce cans for separate releases, where each was brewed, during New York City Beer Week, which returns for a ninth year from February 25 through March 04. Barrier, located in Oceanside, is one of several Long Island breweries to have created beers with their city comrades for the occasion. (Greenport Harbor and The Bronx’s Gun Hill Brewing are another pair; a full article covering all of them is forthcoming.) Throw Some Mo’ is an amplified version of Make It Rain, an IPA it made with Brooklyn’s Other Half, just voted the tenth Best Brewery in The World by RateBeer, and released during Beer Week last year. The progenitor’s recipe was inspired by the idea of merging their well-regarded IPAs, Money IPA (Barrier) and Hop Showers (Other Half). For the extra-strength form, a new aroma-driven hop product called lupulin powder was incorporated. Meanwhile, Don’t Sweat the Technique is named for a 1992 album by Eric B. & Rakim, one of the most influential rap groups of all-time. As such, we should expect this IPA to pack intense hip-hoppiness, each sip a Hit of Rhythm that would knock a Microphone Fiend off the Juice-iest of Ledges. TBD

TRUTH SERUM (Montauk Brewing) An upcoming collaboration with the staff at Truth Training, a fitness studio in East Hampton, will yield this tasting room-exclusive pale ale. “The crew often comes to enjoy themselves after training both themselves and their clients,” explained Vaughan Cutillo, a partner at Long Island’s easternmost brewery. “Being based around the water ourselves, we appreciate the active lifestyle they love. This beer will be a perfect finish to a fun surf, long hike, or anything that celebrates it.” March.

UNNAMED (Shelter Island Craft Brewery) A former jeweler in Manhattan’s Diamond District, James Hull polishes every small-batch beer for his two-year-old brewery, Shelter Island’s first, with at least one ingredient sourced from the serene 27-square-mile landmass (scallops are the most unusual), some even from his own garden (rosemary, hibiscus). He’s in the process of developing an ale with Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. TBD