New York City Beer Week may have ended on Sunday, but wipe that single tear from your I-PA: You can still find most of the collaboration beers made by city breweries and their Long Island comrades for the ninth annual fest.
(And there were a number! Collaborations between breweries are an awesome fixture of the industry.) Here, the Pour11 on five of these special shared creations and where to taste them now.
1. Don’t Sweat the Technique
Barrier Brewing (Oceanside) and Other Half Brewing (Brooklyn)
This imperial IPA—one of two Barrier and Other Half brewed together for Beer Week, and my overall favorite from the nine-day event—is named for the classic rap album by Eric B. & Rakim. But one particular song from the legendary hip-hop duo may be its most apt descriptor: “Juice (Know the Ledge).” Don’t Sweat the Technique has everything we’ve come to expect in the best examples of the New England-style IPA—no surprise given its makers both produce a number of top-notch hoppy beers—including an unfiltered, cloudy appearance; a soft, creamy body; and, due in large part to multiple rounds of dry-hopping with mega-doses of sexy varieties like Mosaic, less-pronounced bitterness, heady hop aromas, and lush, juicy flavors of citrus and tropical fruit. And like many of the category’s elite, it was a highly-limited release packaged in 16-ounce cans and sold exclusively from the brewery—Barrier, in this case. But don’t sweat it if you missed crushing the fragrant, fogged-up nectar clad in aluminum the first time: It’s currently pouring on draft in Barrier’s tasting room, and another batch of cans will drop there on March 23. 7.2% ABV; $5 for 10 ounces at Barrier, 3001 New Street Unit A2; 516-594-1028.
2. Voodoo Juice
Great South Bay Brewery (Bay Shore) and Lineup Brewing (Brooklyn)
Beer Week coinciding with Mardi Gras this year inspired Great South Bay and Lineup to don festive masks and costumes—okay, that’s a blatant lie (which is different from an ale-ternative lie!)—and partner on a luscious milk stout spiked with chipotle and cayenne peppers. The chilies provide a nice smokiness and pleasant heat that plays well with the light residual sweetness of the lactose, the unfermentable sugar used in making milk stouts. Lineup’s owner and brewer, Katarina Martinez, added, “Not only is it balanced, but with such a low ABV you can easily have more than one and not want to go wild on a quest for getting as many Mardi Gras beads as you can.” 4.5% ABV; $7 for 12 ounces at Lineup, 33 35th Street Unit 6A; 720-422-2053.
3. East End Boogie
Greenport Harbor Brewing (Greenport, Peconic) and Gun Hill Brewing (Bronx)
Chug-chug, choo-choo! These locals “hopped” aboard the Juice Caboose for Beer Week to produce a New England-style IPA using vogue Nelson Sauvin, Amarillo, and Citra hops. Pat Alfred, the head brewer at Greenport Harbor’s original location, a converted firehouse in Greenport that the brewery now uses to devise limited-release and experimental “OG” beers, likened drinking East End Boogie to “bathing your tongue in a bowlful of ripe fruit.” (After tasting it with him, I agreed.) He then elaborated on the double IPA: “I get white wine and dankness at the forefront, juicy mango and guava notes hit mid-to-end palate, and there’s a smooth lingering bitterness at the finish.” 8.0% ABV; $6 for 12 ounces at Gun Hill, 3227 Laconia Avenue; 718-881-0010.
4. I Saw You Eat A Muffin
Moustache Brewing (Riverhead) and Strong Rope Brewery (Brooklyn)
If a muffin is eaten in a brewery and no one else is present to witness it, was it really consumed? That’s the philosophical thought experiment (a real stumper!) that yielded the peculiar name for this amber ale—made sans muffins—from Strong Rope and Moustache. “It was a long, loopy brew day and I was being cranky about having not eaten anything,” explains Jason Sahler, Strong Rope’s owner and brewmaster. “But Matt [Spitz, the co-owner and brewmaster of Moustache] immediately caught me in a lie and said, ‘I saw you eat a muffin!’ And that settled the name. Like I said, it was a long, loopy brew day.” Sahler, among a growing group of brewers aiming to create beers with clear terroir, almost exclusively uses ingredients grown in New York State, including hops, grain, fruits and herbs. It’s no surprise, then, that Muffin was produced using hops from two state farms: Mystery Hop (Whipple Brothers Farms) and Michigan Copper (Willet Hop & Grain). Due to the fact that the collaborative brew officially debuted in Strong Rope’s tasting room yesterday (though a small portion did appear at the Ruppert’s Cup Awards, Beer Week’s closing event), I haven’t tasted it yet. Sahler has, however, and said, “It has notes of dank pine resin, guava and nectarine, backed by a biscuity, caramel-y and rounded malt profile.”
6.6% ABV; $8 for 16 ounces at Strong Rope, 574 President Street, Brooklyn; 929-337-8699.
5. Big Unknown – Episode II: Attack of the Cones
Destination Unknown Beer Co. (Bay Shore) and Big Alice Brewing (Long Island City)
After teaming to make a dark gose for Beer Week last year, Big Alice and Destination Unknown joined the light side of the Force, in Cloud City, to create the second installment of Big Unknown, a smooth-sipping New England-style IPA packaged in 16-ounce cans. This hazy, juicy IPA received a double dry-hopping of Citra and Equinox to supply rousing aromas of tropical fruit and fresh peppers, said the owner and brewmaster of Big Alice, Kyle Hurst, who, at least in my mind as I write this, is also chief lieutenant of the Rebel Ale-liance’s Special Hoperations Command. #hoppuns #westillhatejarjarbinks 5.4% ABV; $16 for four-pack of 16-ounce cans at Big Alice, 8-08 43rd Road, Long Island City; 347-688-2337.