Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Brewery
79 N 11th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11249

It was supposed to be a “Happy Hour Knitting on the Roof” meetup. I should have guessed since it was pissing down rain, the roof would be closed. I was a little peeved that I kept posting and the organizer wasn’t answering me. Turns out, she was in Singapore because her grandmother died. She did refund our money. I think, I got an e-mail but never checked to see if the money actually came through. Back to my problem, I was in Brooklyn, it was raining, and after all this effort I didn’t want to just go back home, you know? The meetup was at Berry Park, located at 4 Berry Park in Brooklyn. On the way there I saw, painted on the side of a building, the Brooklyn Brewery Logo, so I checked Google maps, Brooklyn Brewery is around the corner.

Last summer when I made up the list for my ‘Summer Brewery Tour’, Brooklyn Brewery was on it. Not very high on it since I had been to it before and I was focusing on breweries that were new to me. The inevitable result was I never made it to Brooklyn Brewery. My coming here this was was, as noted above, kind of an accident. But I was here and determined to make the best of it. So I started tasting the sours. First was Rose de Ville, then London Gose, as I was chatting with the bartender, he (without me asking) then gave me Sour Cloud and Bel Air Sour. I wasn’t really sold on any of the sours, maybe cause it was a cold rainy night and had decided to get the Oktoberfest. Before I could order it, the man next to me ordered a Lager and a Pilsner, the bartender poured a Lager and an Oktoberfest. Before he could pour out the Oktoberfest I yelled, “I’ll take it!” Everyone was happy.

Next up was the “Defender IPA”, which I have only had in bottles. Much better on draft and fresh.

From the cellar: Brooklyn Brewery’s “High End” beers. The bartender gave me a taste (moral of the story, ALWAYS chat up your bartender, and BE NICE), Better Angels, Sour – Flanders Oud Bruin, Tart, vinuous & divine cuvée barrel vintage oud bruin, then, K Is For Kriek, American Wild Ale, “Kriek” means “cherry” in Belgian Flanders, aged in Bourbon barrels, unfortunately, I can’t read my notes so the rest of what I tasted is lost to history. And no, these aren’t my descriptions, I copied them from Beer Advocate.

More about the brewery, they are green, they reuse their cups for tastings and said cups are made from plants. I’m not sure how that works, but I think it means the cups degrade, they don’t last forever in a landfill. I would also say, from what I saw, not exactly family friendly. They have a lot of merchandise, they are also the oldest brewery in NYC. They have two types of tours. On Saturday is a general tour, first come first serve. During the week you need to make an appointment and pay a fee, but you get a tasting glass to take home and a private tasting. They even have a room for it! I thought I had a picture of it, but apparently not. It is in the video, which is not posted here because it is sideways. However, if you go to my Instagram (link in the sidebar) you can see it there.

My last taste of the night was Brown Ale and my last beer of the night was Black Chocolate Stout, one of my favorites. And as they say, Good-bye and Good-night.

City Swiggers and MeetUp

This is one of my go-to spots, when I have cash that is, and it is a craft beer store / beer bar. 12 taps and located on 86th St. between 2nd ave and 1st ave. The name is City Swiggers

While I have been at City Swiggers before, even making special trips there to give them my empty cardboard box holders (save the turtle!), this was a special occasion because it was the first meet-up for New York Craft Beer Crew. I have been to other meet-up but this was the first, “first” meet-up.

The organizer is Jake. I feel confidant writing that online since he posted it in the meet-up group and when I said I would write a blog post about the City Swiggers Meet-up he didn’t say: “OH NO DON’T DO THAT I’LL BE RUINED!” He seemed to think it was a good idea, of course I hadn’t written the blog post when he said that ….

City Swiggers, when you walk in to your left is a cooler with beer, to your right are shelves with beer and in front of you is an island with shelves underneath it with more beer. I found about these shelves when I asked for wheat-free beer and I was directed to these underground shelves with gluten-free beer. Since I had previously drank “Redbridge beer” (1/8 of one and then put the rest of the pack in my apartment’s garbage room, my super is still giving me dirty looks). I almost ran out of the store.

Uggg, back on track, the meet-up was pretty good, City Swiggers gave us complimentary beer for having the meet-up there. All praise goes to Jake! I couldn’t drink it since it had coconut in it (boo allergies!). And since I waited too long to write this, and didn’t take notes …. it was nice. People talked about: Is this your first meet-up? What beer do you like? What beer was the first craft beer you drank? I think Jake has a good thing going here. I am throwing my towel in his ring 100%.

P.S. When you walk past the bar with the taps, there are tables with chairs, low and hi-tops, past them the toilets and more shelves with imported beers, not-US, European beers.

City Hops

When I can’t get to a brewery to drink craft beer I go to one of the many craft beer bars in the city. City Hops is one that is on the way home from work (kind of sort of). They are a craft beer store with a bar, so you can buy a can or bottle (or 2 or 3) to take home. You can get a draft beer to drink there, or you can have your can or bottle opened (for a slight fee, depending on the price of the beer). They also fill growlers, either your own or you can buy one there, they have 32 oz, 64 oz, and 128 oz(seriously! I think that one is kind of a joke). This is a rather small spot, with a decent selection, kind of dark and there is a column right in front of the bar. It also seems to have a lot of regulars.

They are by no means unique in offering cans and bottle to go, a quick look through Google I found at least 6 in various parts of the city and the other boroughs. Some serve food and some don’t. City Hops doesn’t, but Subway Inn across the street from them will deliver.

On this night I had KCBC/Barrier Crypto Currency, Grimm Artisanal Ales Sunroof, and Mikkeller Brewing San Diego Misty Elliott. Mikkeller does have an NYC brewery, I had already sampled the NYC ones. I couldn’t find a website, but they have Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Links are below. Enjoy the pictures below and check out City Hops!

City Hops (@CityHops) | Twitter
City Hops – New York, New York
CITY HOPS (@cityhopsnyc) • Instagram photos and videos

Pearl River part 2

img_1278When the group left Defiant because of the wedding we all trouped over to Gentle Giant because none of us wanted to go home. I had already eaten so didn’t order food. Since I had never been there before I decided on a flight. This is how Gentle Giant does their flights, all six beers on tap, obviously they do not fill the pint glasses to the top. I only got 5 because one of the brews had maple in it. Allergies suck. They did allow me to get two of one so I still got 6 mini-beers. Normally when I get a flight I have one or two beers I am undecided on. Not the case here, all were pretty amazing. I liked all the beers in the flight. I would like it better if I had remembered to take notes, but I get intimidated in a crowd.

This brewery serves food, you can see the list on the blackboard, speaking of blackboards, what is it with blackboards and breweries? Is it a nod to old school, like some also have record players and actual records that are played on them? Is it because they are relatively cost effective way to change the beer when a keg kicks and a new one is tapped? I don’t know, I have never asked, maybe it’s in the fine print, “If you want to call yourself a craft brewery, you must list your beer in chalk on a blackboard”, except not all breweries do it. I’m not saying I have an issue with it, I am just wondering.

It is family friendly, no dogs allowed, and while I didn’t ask about tours, you can see the tanks from the tap room. They also have a big screen and the game was on, the player is holding on to his belt, and on Football Sunday they have specials. I learned that from following their Instagram.

Not much else to say, check out the photos below and if you’re in Pearl River, check them out!


Defiant Brewery

Once a year my knitting club takes a trip to Pearl River in Rockland county to go to a little craft store there. Included in the trip is a visit to Defiant Brewing Co. which is right over the tracks from the train station. The day goes, meet at Penn Station, take NJ Transit to Pearl River, buy yarn, drink beer. For me this makes Defiant Brewing Co. today’s stop on Bella’s Fabulous Tri-State beer tour. Stick around, because today, there are two stops. Defiant is one of the breweries that serves food. As such dogs are not allowed. It is family friendly there. The food is mainly barbecue with just two vegetarian options, Mac-n-cheese and deviled eggs. Since I have discovered I am allergic to eggs and my system doesn’t tolerate mac-n-cheese anymore, unless it’s my own, and they were out of Brat, I got the chili. Which was not as spicy as I like it, a little too barbecue flavor, but made with shredded meat not hamburger so a win anyway.

From the picture you can tell they have a fairly large taproom with plenty of tables for eating and drinking and socializing with your mates. The day we went they were decorating for a wedding reception and were closing at 3:00 pm. If you are wondering, who has a wedding reception at a brewery? I think I would for one. This is where I tell you this picture to the right is only the front half of the brewery, in fact the tanks in the slide show below were behind me when I took this shot. The fact that they were closing early turned out to be fortuitous since on the way to The Stitchery we saw Gentle Giant. The second stop on today’s edition of Bella’s Fabulous Tri-State beer tour.

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img_1269And my growler bag was a hit, everybody loved it.

More in the city

Grimm Artisanal Ales had their ‘grand opening’ Saturday June 30. My friend Em, who doesn’t really drink beer was coming to the city. When I said I want to go to Grimm she said she would come with me. So after she got here we headed to Brooklyn. I have had Grimm before and since I know what she likes, I was sure she would find something to drink she would like. On that Saturday they were pouring 3 sour beers, an American pale ale, a double IPA and a saison de Copage.

It was mad crazy packed. There was a line to buy cans and bottles that went down the side to the back, across the back, down to the front and out the door. People were lined up 3 deep at the bar and they weren’t accepting cash, only cards which Em didn’t like, she prefers to use cash. I told Em she would probably like a sour, since she likes beer with grapefruit and orange in it. She ordered the “Super You” a Sour Gose with Pineapple. As expected she liked it, mainly because it tasted like “A fruity cocktail, not beer”. I had “Air & Light” a dry hopped sour with cherries. I didn’t take any pictures that day partly because Em was with me and also because is was so packed! I bought the growler on my second trip on July 9th.

On that trip I had “Icing on the Cake” and “Double Negative” both stouts. I got the growler filled with “Zero Anniversary”.

Grimm Artisanal Ales is a Brooklyn-based brewery founded in 2013 by Joe and Lauren Grimm after nearly a decade of tinkering with fermentation. Grimm specializes in concise, elegant ales epitomizing the creative, experimental spirit of the American artisanal beer revolution. With each limited edition release, we seek to push the boundaries of style and flavor in order to create beers with the utmost depth and complexity.

When I started researching breweries for my 2017 Brewery Tour I discovered breweries that claim to be NYC breweries that don’t actually brew in the city. These are contract breweries. Most of them actually bring all their ingredients, except water, to another brewery and use their equipment. As part of my ‘brewery tour’, I was going to track down as many of these brewery’s beers as I could. Some are easy, you can find them at places like Whole Foods and the Pony Bar, Six Point, KelSo, Evil Twin, and the above mentioned Grimm. Some are not so easy. One of the not so easy ones is Harlem Blue. I have to be honest and say I wasn’t exactly searching very hard, after all there is so much beer to drink! But I was keeping my eyes open for any mention of them. The Museum of the City of New York had an event, I thought Harlem Blue was going to be there, thought that was what I read but instead the alcohol was Prosecco, not to be deterred I kept the museum on my watch list. Then it happened. I don’t remember if it was e-mail or Facebook but they started a series of events, the one that interested me was, “Unexpected Pairings: Beer & Chocolate” featuring Harlem Blue and Harlem Chocolate Factory, on July 19, 2018. You know which one I was interested in! Julian Riley founded Harlem Blue in 2014, he described himself as a ‘recovering attorney’, specializing in contracts, he stated he wanted to “represent crafting from a Harlem point of view”. Currently brewing in Harrisburg, PA, but stated plans are in the works to open a brewery in NYC. When I asked him, he couldn’t give me a firm date. You can be sure I will set a Google alert for this! There were two beers to sample, “1658 Ale” Pale Wheat Ale, the name comes from the fact the 1658 is when Harlem was founded. I didn’t try it (allergies) but it is ‘approachable’, I can’t explain that, for all the beer I drink I am woefully uneducated about what the terms mean. The other beer was “Hectic IPA” also drinkable. The chocolate was good too.

Another brewery I had my eye on was a brewery named “Radiant Pig, according to Google it was located in Manhattan, but the address looking like a apartment. In a rather weird coincidence, if you believe in them, I stumbled upon some Radiant Pig beer on July 22, 2018. I went to a different grocery store to get my lunch. Most of the grocery stores in Queens have awesome beer selections. I stopped to look at what they had, like I always do and saw “Save the Robots” by Radiant Pig, an American Pale Ale, so I bought a six-pack. Now I can add Radiant Pig to my brewery tour list.

Foiled again!

image_556454751411322I thought I had found a tap room for KelSo Beer. Turns out it is a bar that features them. They have a nice sign though. I had the “Mosaic India Pale Ale”, “Stone Barns Lemon Verbena Pilsner”, and a pilsner that was just just called “Pilsner”. They also have a ‘small but very good kitchen’, which was not over-hyped, food was delicious!

In the Hudson Valley part 2

img_1004On the other end of main street from the train station is Hudson Valley Brewery. As you are driving away from the train station, take the last right turn, go down a little hill and there you are. It is near the water treatment plant and the waterfall. You can hear the waterfall when you are standing in the parking lot. The water treatment, well you know that if you have lived in Beacon. It looks like and probably is a warehouse. Outside there is a patio seating area, when I came people were sitting there with their dogs. I don’t remember any being inside.

It’s always nice to see a clearly marked sign for the facilities. If I was to give a name to the decor it would be “Micro Brewery Classic”, the tanks are visible and the wooden kegs are stacked nicely. There is one size glass, if you order a small pour they fill the glass half-way. I like that, very conservation minded. A rather small crowd of what appeared to be locals. I had the “Feel No Way” (Pilsner with Sterling and Hallertau Blanc) and “Magnolia” (Sour). Since I haven’t learned all the buzz words for judging beer I will just say, FNW got 3.75 stars on Untappd and Magnolia got 4 stars. This is not surprising as I have always preferred sours over pilsners. Since I had to walk to the train station I didn’t stay long. The brewery seems to have a nice group of regular patrons and while the building is large, the tap room area is not. Most of the space inside is taken up with tanks and brewing apparatus and the taproom is rather spartan, but not unpleasantly so.

Pride Beer

It’s Pride month, who knew? Not this girl – embarrassed laugh – and I certainly should! A big clue was Big aLICe released their Bière de Fierté, a Lemongrass, Ginger, Belgium, Tripel (get it? LGBT). It was released 31 May 2018. Then I learned June was Pride month. “Oh that makes perfect sense.” Says I before I hide my face in shame.

Got to the brewery when they opened and bought some, yesterday I gave two bottles to my nephew, he said it’s good. That’s high praise since he is not really a beer drinker.

2017 brew tour the sequel

It’s a Yankee jacket, I’m a Yankee fan, deal with it.

When I was at Lithology with Chris I told him I was not going to any new breweries in April. Yet here I am with my third new brewery review. I know Chris won’t be upset, but I feel I owe an explanation. The reason I gave for not checking out new breweries was my other plans for the month, like the Allentown Fiber Festival. 2 Way Brewing Company and Water Street Brewing Co. were both stops on that trip because I have the BEST best friend in the world. Tonight’s stop at Queens Brewery was on my way to Craft Culture for trivia. Which is every Thursday, even though I don’t get there every Thursday. However, Queens Brewery is a stone’s throw from the Halsey Street stop on the L train, which is where I get off the train to go to Craft Culture. Although I wouldn’t recommend throwing stones, seriously, I almost tripped over it, if you leave the subway at the Covert Street exit it is right there.


Three taps for the win!

Queens Brewery
1539 Covert St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
My memory is hazy on when I first learned about “Queens Brewery”, I think someone mentioned it, or I saw it on a list of NYC breweries and that is when I started Googling and found this:

Queens Brewery to Open First NYC Location in Ridgewood
By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 9, 2015 3:25pm

I then took to Google maps and found – nothing -. Not deterred I kept looking, searching and asking friends, bartenders and fellow patrons. However, things got busy and so I missed their ‘cold opening’, called that because they were having problems with their heat. But they opened, advised people to wear their coats and come drink beer. When I went, these three beers were were pouring, they do have other alcohol, mixed cocktails ‘on tap’. That’s what the small glasses are for (I know you can’t tell how small the glass is by the picture, maybe I should start carrying a ruler with me). The beer is sold in 1/2 liters and full liters in these lovely heavy glasses that remind me of the glasses from a beer garden, or that German pub on 42nd Street.

GRAND OPENING:  Queens Brewery’s Beer Hall Opens this Tuesday in Ridgewood!
Text and images from Queens Brewery

The moment you have been waiting for is upon our neighborhood! Queens Brewery’s new brew hall in Ridgewood, Queens is officially opening THIS Tuesday, March 13th 2018!



Aww it’s so cute!

After having a taste of the Blau (from their website): Seasonal ale, fermented with premium highbush blueberries; which was not my style, I got a Lager, always go with the lager (from their website): American lager, dry-hopped with Summit, Chinook, and UK Pilgrim; then I had the Blvd (from their website): Session IPA, hopped with Mosaic, Mandarina Bavaria, and Topaz. The bartender (James) also gave me a taste of their Moscow Mule “on tap”. He got excited when he found out I had come there to ‘check out the brewery and write about it’. He even brought Nelson, the owner over to meet me. I was ridiculously flattered by that.

The brewery itself is nice sized, with a stage for live music and karaoke. Couple of easy chairs, big tables perfect for crafting and it’s well lit. They have a projector (I’m guessing) so you can watch baseball, or hockey, or whatever is on. Pretty sure they will have all the Met’s games showing. They serve hot dogs, brats, kielbasa and sauerkraut; but at the moment will let you bring food in, or when I was there they did. They also have snack size bags of chips and pretzels. Kid friendly, they have the requisite board games, including a really big jenga game. No pets, only service animals. I asked about 32-oz can crowlers, glass growlers, regular cans and Citifield. James wasn’t sure about the 32-oz cans, said they are planning on getting growlers, they will have cans when they get their canning line up and yes, you will be able to get Queens Beer at Citifield. I think that covers it.

Check out their website, much better pictures. Also follow them on Instagram to learn about the cool events they have going on.