A beer. Half drunk.

Interpret as you wish.



Review: Social Ave’s Beer EssentiALES Beer Glasses

A glass for (most) every style.

Beer EssentiALES are a new product from Social Ave., distributed by long-time glassware producer Luigi Bormioli. I wouldn’t review beer glasses without something to make them interesting and in this case there were two things. First, I have a couple sets of Luigi Bormioli cocktail glasses and really like the look and feel of them. Second, they are targeted to craft beer drinkers.

Note the set of glasses I used was provided to me by the manufacturer. The beer consumed was provided by me.

The glasses are made of borosilicate glass. This does two things. First, it makes them very light. More importantly though, it makes you feel like you are using a lab beaker to drink your beer and gives you a satisfied mad scientist feeling. I’ve had a couple friends use them and both commented on how light they were and their surprise that it felt good when they were used to heavier glassware. The style-specific shapes are a modern touch on the classics. [update: this also means they are strong. I tested this claim by dropping one when putting it away. It fell to the counter with no damage at all.]

I’d recommend these if you you’re looking for some interesting, nice looking beer glasses. As of 5/29/12 the only place I can find these online is Everything Kitchen ($29.99) but they should be on Amazon soon.

Top Hops Beer Shop is Open in NYC

I saw this pop up on Urban Daddy the other day and just got the press release below. Dying to go now.


Top Hops Beer Shop:
Merchants and Advocates of Great Beer
Part Bottle Shop, Part Tasting Room, Part Classroom

New York, NY [January 19, 2012] – Top Hops Beer Shop is now open at 94 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. A retail store and tasting bar designed to showcase great beer from around the world, Top Hops offers a selection upwards of 700 brands, both American craft and import, available for purchase and on-premise imbibing.

Top Hops encourages people who are passionate about beer to come together to share their enthusiasm and gain a better understanding of the magic that is hops, yeast, barley and water. And to make Top Hops a true hub for dynamic beer experiences, Top Hops will host guest brewers, visiting beer writers and beer pairing seminars.

Don’t know a Double IPA from a Dopplebock, or Saaz hops from the American Cascade variety? Not to worry, Top Hops welcomes beer drinkers of all knowledge levels, from the geek to the novice. Owner Ted Kenny has created a welcoming, unpretentious environment that encourages experimentation and — most importantly — fun. “It’s beer, after all,” says Kenny. “Hopefully we will introduce our customers to beers or styles they have never heard of or tried before.”

Serious beer drinkers, however, are in for a treat. A 30-foot custom-built wood and polished aluminum bar invites customers to belly up and enjoy a tasting flight or a glass of any of the 20 beers on tap, as well as any bottle available in the store.  Five of the 20 taps are dedicated to regional breweries including Greenport [Long Island], Kelso [Brooklyn], Captain Lawrence [Westchester, NY], Troegs [Hershey, PA] and River Horse [Lambertville, NJ]. Rotating taps will feature seasonal beers, limited editions and other hard to find selections, both domestic and imported. Growlers are available in 64-oz and 32-oz sizes for take home.

Never one to discriminate, Kenny has dedicated a tap line to Budweiser. “When served properly and stored and treated the way the brewer intended, Bud is in fact a good example of its style of beer, American Lager,” explains Kenny. “Most places don’t treat it properly, which is the issue.”

Here’s a fact that will make beer geeks smile, and give everyone the chance to taste the beers as they were meant to be tasted: Top Hops cleans their own draft lines and never goes longer than two weeks between cleanings. They are fanatic about clean draft lines. A blackboard behind the bars lists the date that each line was cleaned along with other pertinent details, including the date the keg was tapped, IBU, style, brewery, brewery location, and a description of the beer.

The bottle selection consists of nearly 700 brands and spans the globe with unparalleled breadth and depth. Top Hops works tirelessly to offer an unprecedented selection, with possibly the best selection of Belgian beers in New York City, including DeuS, Glaven Toren Saison and Contreras. Approximately half the inventory is dedicated to American craft beers, including offerings from cult gypsy brewers like Brian Stillwater of Stillwater Artisanal Ales.

A small menu of beer-friendly items is available, including a rotating selection of cheeses, charcuterie, olives, Mast Brothers chocolate and German-style pretzels, all sourced from The Essex Street Market around the corner. A small selection of wines by the glass, as well as non-alcoholic beverages, are also available for non-beer drinkers.

A native New Yorker, Ted Kenny spent 12 years in finance before seeing the light and moving to the beer business in 2006. He worked for the Anheuser-Busch/In Bev brewery and then distributor, learning something every day about beer. Kenny is a Certified Beer Server from the Cicerone Certification Program and is on his way to becoming a Certified Cicerone.  Similar to the process of becoming a Master Sommelier, a Certified Cicerone undergoes an exam that demonstrates a vast knowledge of beer, from its history, its different styles and how to pair them with food, as well as a working knowledge of draft beer equipment and proper storage.

All Top Hops employees are required to become Certified Beer Servers.  This commitment to knowledge and education is paramount to Kenny, “What’s the point of offering 700 beers if my staff can’t answer questions about them or pour them in the correct glass?”

Architect Russell Glover has created an inviting space using a palette of concrete, wood and aluminum – all the materials commonly found in a brewery. The heart and soul of the store are the two 26-foot long glass refrigerators that hold the cold bottles (organized by place of origin) and kegs that hug the right and left walls of the store, underneath an arched white-washed ceiling designed to look and feel like a beer cave.


Top Hops is located at 94 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002; Telephone: 212-254-4677; Website: www.tophops.com. Top Hops is open seven days a week: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 2:00pm-10:00pm; Thursday 2:00pm-11:00pm; Friday 2:00pm-12:00am; Saturday 12:00pm-12:00am; Sunday 12:00pm-8:00pm.

Today in NYC, Shmaltz Celebrates its 15th Anniversary at 15 Bars

From the press release:

Shmaltz Brewing celebrates its 15th year of brewing with the Limited-Edition release of Genesis 15:15®. Happening Tuesday, November 15, 2011, beer bars across NYC will partner with Shmaltz for a one-night-only affair! The following 15 bars will have a keg of Genesis 15:15® on draft, starting at 5:15 pm: Queens Kickshaw, MexiQ, Rye House, Rattle N Hum, George Keeley’s, Valhalla, Tap Room, Dive 96, Swift, Blind Tiger, Puck Fair, Mugs Ale House, Black Swan, 4th Avenue Pub, and The Double Windsor.

What is the Genesis 15:15? Apparently it involves a bunch of ®s:

A bold and decadent 13.4% ABV Harvest Barleywine aged 9 months in Sazerac 6-Year Rye Whiskey Barrels, Genesis 15:15® is the 5th release in Shmaltz’s Limited-Edition Barrel Aged series. Genesis 15:15® incorporates fruit juices from the Sacred Species listed in the Torah: figs, dates, grapes, and pomegranates. Harkening back to HE’BREW’s® original Genesis Ale® – a beer brewed with pomegranates that were hand-squeezed in Shmaltz owner Jeremy Cowan’s San Francisco apartment – Genesis 15:15® symbolizes the evolution of Shmaltz from a humble, self-distributed start-up to one of the most creative and respected craft brewing companies in America. Genesis 15:15® was also inspired by Genesis 10:10®, a 10th anniversary, 10% ABV pomegranate strong ale whose popularity led to the subsequent commissioning of Origin®, a year-round Imperial Amber Pomegranate Ale.

Sounds like a good reason for me to stop by Blind Tiger after a meetup tonight.

Birra Moretti Loves Pizza

They love it so much that they are running a contest which will be promoted in various pizza places and Italian restaurants in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and South Florida as well as their Facebook page. What are the prizes, you may ask?

  • The ultimate prize of a trip for two to Naples, Italy – the home of Margherita pizza- that includes a pizza-making class
  • Free pizza for 1 year sponsored by Birra Moretti to give away to a selected number of participating customers
  • Tickets for the invitation-only finale party held at New York City’s Italian foodie mecca, Eataly, and curated by East Village Radio
  • A variety of Birra Moretti consumer giveaways

Moretti and East Village Radio hosted an event a couple weeks ago here in NYC to announce this and were kind enough to invite me. They were also kind enough to give us free beer, pizza and a schwag bag. The last time I had a Moretti was years ago at a coffee shop so I didn’t really have a strong memory if I like their beer or not. I tried their lager first (on draught) and wasn’t terribly impressed. Not bad, but nothing worth telling anyone about. Next I had the La Rossa (also on draught) which they describe as a double malt. This was the beer I remember having in the past and it was pretty tasty. This sentiment was typical of the 4 or 5 people I talked to at the event.

GABF 2011 Winners

In case you haven’t seen it elsewhere, the GABF winners have been announced. View the PDF for details. Full press release below.


248 medals awarded; 18 first-time entering breweries earn medals; Indiana claims winningest entry rate

Boulder, CO • October 1, 2011—The 2011 Great American Beer Festival® (GABF) competition drew an impressive field of competitors, with 2011 topping last year’s entries by 11 percent. GABF remains the largest commercial beer competition in the world, with 3,930 beers vying for medals (compared to 3,523 entries in 2010).

A total of 248 medals were awarded. View the 2011 winners or download a PDF list of the winners.

Competition entries were received from 526 breweries from 48 states plus Puerto Rico.

This year’s GABF competition attracted 167 beer judges from nine countries. The competition was aided by the efforts of 107 volunteers. Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 83 beer categories covering 134 beer styles (encompassing subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S.

2011 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Microstar Keg Management

Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, Wash.
Will Kemper

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group

Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, Calif.
Matthew Brynildson

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year

Pabst Brewing Company, Woodridge, Ill.
Bob Newman

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.

Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, Calif.
Yiga Miyashiro

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group

Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, Calif.
Pizza Port Brew Guys

Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Country Malt Group

TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, Calif.
Victor Novak

Overall Competition Highlights

Among the highlights of the 2011 GABF competition results:

  • Medals were won by 18 first-time entering breweries (seven gold medals, five silver medals, six bronze medals).
  • Indiana had the most winning rate of medals compared to entries by state, with a 19.2 percent winning rate. Specifically, Indiana won 10 medals out of 52 total entries.
    • Minnesota won three medals out of 21 entries for a winning rate of 14.3 percent.
    • New Mexico won four medals out of 31 entries for a winning rates of 12.9 percent.
    • Wyoming won five medals out of 39 entries for a winning rate of 12.8 percent.
    • Alaska won two medals out of 16 entries for a winning rate of 12.5 percent.
  • The top five entrants that won the most medals are:
    • Sun King Brewing Co., 8 medals
    • Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 6 medals
    • Pizza Port Carlsbad, 6 medals
    • Rock Bottom Brewery, 6 medals
    • Boston Beer Co., 4 medals
  • The most gold medals were won by :
    • Sun King Brewing Co., 4 gold medals won
    • Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 3 gold medals won
    • Pizza Port Carlsbad, 3 gold medals won
    • 21st Amendment Brewery, 2 gold medals won
    • Boulevard Brewing Co., 2 gold medals won

Style Categories

The most competitive category was again American-Style India Pale Ale with 176 entries, representing brewers’ and beer enthusiasts’ persistent love for hop-forward beers. This category has been the top-entered at GABF since 2001.

The top five entered categories were:

  1. American-Style India Pale Ale – 176 entries
  2. Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer – 118 entries
  3. American-Style Pale Ale – 105 entries
  4. American-Style Strong Pale Ale – 103 entries
  5. Imperial India Pale Ale – 102 entries

The top 5 winners in the most-entered (that is, the most competitive) categories were:

  • American-Style India Pale Ale, 176 entries

Gold: Elevated IPA, La Cumbre Brewing Co, Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Deviant Dale’s, Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO
Bronze: Head Hunter IPA, Fat Heads Brewery, North Olmsted, OH

  • Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer, 118 entries

Gold: Melange a Trois, Nebraska Brewing Co, Papillion, NE
Silver: BBJ (Bourbon Barrel Johan), Sun King Brewing Co, Indianapolis, IN
Bronze: Barrel Aged Naked Evil BBW, Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co, Akron, OH

  • American-Style Pale Ale, 105 entries

Gold: Pale 31, Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA
Silver: Mission St. Pale, Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA
Bronze: Ute Trail Pale Ale, Amicas, Salida, CO

  • American-Style Strong Pale Ale, 103 entries

Gold: Pako’s Eye P.A., Snake River Brewing, Jackson, WY
Silver: AleSmith IPA, AleSmith Brewing Co, San Diego, CA
Bronze: Hop Knot, Four Peaks Brewing Co, Tempe, AZ

  • Imperial India Pale Ale, 102 entries

Gold: Citra Double IPA, Kern River Brewing, Kernville, CA
Silver: Double Jack, Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA
Bronze: Imperial IPA, Epic Brewing Co, Salt Lake City, UT

Four new beer styles were judged at the 2011 GABF, including Fruit Wheat Beer (48 entries), Chocolate Beer (30 entries), American-Style Brett Ale (31 entries) and International-Style Pale Ale (20 entries).

2011 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition

Gold, silver and bronze medals were also awarded in the GABF Pro-Am competition, which pairs amateur brewers with professional brewers, who scale up the award-winning homebrew recipes. The medal winners, including the winning professional brewers and American Homebrewers Association (AHA) member homebrewers are:

Gold: Before Capone, C.B. & Potts Restaurant & Brewery, Westminster, CO
Brewmaster: Dennis O’Harrow, AHA Member: Tom Gardner

Silver: Schwarzherz, Uinta Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT
Brewmaster: Uinta Beer Team, AHA Member: Travis Grimm

Bronze: Kriek, Dry Dock Brewing, Aurora, CO
Brewmaster: Dry Dock Brewers, AHA Member: Ted Manahan

The GABF Pro-Am Competition is sponsored by Brewers Supply Group, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., Hopunion and White Labs.

Summary: 2011 Great American Beer Festival Statistics

  • 466 breweries in the festival hall
  • 2,375 beers served at the festival
  • 49,000 attendees
  • Approximately 3,300 volunteers
  • 526 breweries in the competition from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico
  • 3,930 beers judged (includes 86 Pro-Am competition entries)
  • 83 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition
  • 167 judges from nine countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 48
  • Category with highest number of entries: 176, American Style India Pale Ale

2011 Great American Beer Festival Official Sponsors

DRAFT magazine
Microstar Keg Management
KBCO 97.3 FM
103.5 The Fox

NYC October Beer Events

Although NY Craft Beer Week has come and gone, that doesn’t mean there isn’t beery goodness to be had in NYC. Here’s a few upcoming events:

Sat, 10/1: SingleCut Beersmiths tasting at Earl’s Beer and Cheese (East Harlem)

I’ve been wanting to go to Earl’s for a while and this is the perfect reason since Rich Buceta (who I met on a recent homebrew tour) will be there with his tasty beers in tow. Earl’s has a good beer selection with food to match.

This Saturday from 1-5ish PM, Earl’s Beer and Cheese will be hosting a SingleCut Beersmiths Tasting Event. Earl’s (Park Ave bet. 97th & 98th) is one of our favorite craft-beer pubs – they’ve gotten glowing write-ups in just about every NY-based publication not only for their choice beers, but superb food as well (NYTimes, New York Mag, Time Out NY, NY Field & Stream, etc.)

We’ll have our usual wide-variety of SingleCut beers for you to try, and will be happy to answer questions about the status of the brewery and what promise the future holds (Spoiler Alert: it’s all good).

Thurs, 10/6: Kelso Beer Dinner at 5 Napkin Burger (Astoria)


  • Pilsner
  • 5 Napkin Lager
  • India Pale Ale
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Recessionator Doppelbock
  • Brandy Barrel Aged IPA
  • Kellerfest
  • Flemish Red Ale

Cocktail Hour Appetizers:

  • Crispy Chicken Nuggets with 5NB Brew BBQ Sauce
  • Brandy Barrel Aged IPA Pulled Pork Sliders with pickled veggies, cilantro, sriracha and lime
  • Kellerfest and Cheddar Soup with Candied Bacon

Entrees (choice of):

  • 5 Napkin Burger
  • Lobster Mac N’ Cheese


  • Flemish Red Ale Moon Pie

The dinner is $60 (including tax and tip) and includes seven full beers, 6 different appetizers during the cocktail reception, choice of entrée and dessert. Buy tickets.

Tues, Oct 11: Endless Belgian Beer & Sausage Fest (Chelsea)

Celebrate Oktoberfest with a French twist this year as the Tour de France Restaurant Group launches its savory Sausage and Suds Festival at all nine of its Manhattan restaurants from October 12-21.    A host of beers from Brewery Ommegang and Duvel – all hand-selected by Tour de France’s master beer sommelier Gianni Cavicchi – will accompany and enhance each flavorful sausage dish.

BUT the best part…Endless Beer and Sausage on October 11th!  There is a kick off celebration happening on October 11th at 404 (404 10th Avenue @ 33rd Street) where each restaurant is making one sausage from their menu paired with a beer also from Brewery Ommegang & Duvel.  There is a VIP hour starting at 6:30 where guests will have the opp to mingle with brewers and tap the special Aphrodite beer and then General Admission begins at 7:30.  The cost to attend is $53 for VIP from 6:30-10pm and $38 for General Admission from 7:30-10pm. To purchase tickets, please visit http://rewards.thrillist.com/deal/2828/tour-de-france/ny

Some pairings are below that will be served at the Endless Sausage & Beer Fest:

Nice Matin- Grilled Venison Sausage
creamy polenta with red currants plumped in maple syrup

Paired with- Ommegang “Abbey Ale” Dubble, Cooperstown, New York
Inspired by the centuries-old brewing practices of the Belgian Trappist monks.
This dubble has notes of figs, clove, toffee, caramel and licorice

French Roast Uptown- PEI Mussels with Chorizo
Spicy Tomato and White Wine Sauce

Paired with- Ommegang “Hennepin” Saison, Cooperstown, New York
A refreshing style originally brewed for the farmers on the Wallonia country side in Belgium.
Notes of lemon grass, gingersnap and floral hop aromas

Cafe D’Alsace- Duck Sausage
In Puff Pastry with Green Peppercorns

Pairing-  Brasserie d’Achouffe “Mc Chouffe” Scotch Ale, Achouffe, Belgium.
Adventurous and experimental Brasserie d’Achouffe perfects the Scottish style.
Notes of Chocolate, doughy dark malts, raisins and coffee

Le Monde- Boudin Blanc
With Braised Leeks & A Truffle Cream Sauce

Pairing- Duvel “Single” Strong Blonde Ale Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium.
A new lighter version of Belgium’s favorite ale.
Notes of pilsner malt, white pepper and lemon peel

Sat, 10/22: Victory Brewing Tour and Pig Roast (Leaves from Midtown)

Bought my ticket for this the other day.

On Saturday October 22nd at 10am, join Rattle N Hum on a booze bus to Victory Brewing Company for a private brewery tour and pig roast. The bus departs from Rattle N Hum (14 East 33rd St) at 10am sharp on October 22nd and returns in the evening.

This is a very special chance to get a private tour of Victory Brewing Company, which is not currently offering brewery tours to the public.

What’s included

  • Bus ride from Rattle N Hum (14 East 33rd St) to Victory Brewery.
  • Beer and sandwiches will be provided during the trip down. The beer will come straight from a keg that will ride with you.
  • Private brewery tour of Victory Brewing Company.
  • All you care to eat and drink Pig roast at the brewery.
  • Bus ride back to Rattle N Hum.

Sat, 10/22: Das Best Oktoberfest (Chelsea)

Das Best Oktoberfest, sponsored by The Trigger Agency, is returning to NYC for the second year in a row! Das Best Oktoberfest will take place on Saturday, October 22 at La Venue and The Tunnel in West Chelsea at 608 West 28th St.,  (between 11th & 28th). Adults ages 21 and over are invited to experience an amazing fun-filled day of music, contests, food, and suds!

Over 150 international and craft beers, plus wines and schnapps are available to ticket holders who will receive a sampling glass upon arrival for an all-you-care-to-taste sampling. It’s das best day of beer sippin’, sausage tastin’, music listenin’, lederhosen wearin’ on this side of the Atlantic! Hot sauces, beer accessories, and even an outdoor cigar area will be available for all guests.

The best German-inspired foods available in New York City will be in abundance and offered ala carte from several vendors from sausages to side dishes while guests enjoy foot stomping live music from authentic oompah and polka bands. What’s an Oktoberfest without a few competitions? Enter the Best Beer Belly in NYC competition and take a shot at winning $100 and bragging rights or, the Miss Oktoberfest contest where one lucky fraulein will also win $100. Dress in authentic German garb for a FREE lanyard! And the individual wearing the most creative designed pretzel necklace just might win a Heavy Seas Gift Basket and $100.

Tickets are available online at www.nyoctoberfest.com
Session One:  Noon to 4:00 p.m. (Last call at 3:45 p.m.)
Session Two: 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Last call at 9:15 p.m.)

Each session:  $65 in advance or $80 at the door.
Admission includes a souvenir tasting mug, unlimited sampling of beer, wine, and schnapps, plus live entertainment. German food will be available ala carte.

Grand Oompah Tasting Session – Limited to 100 people.  Tickets: $150
Valid from Noon-9:30 p.m. (both sessions) includes admission, souvenir tasting mug, lanyard, Oktoberfest hat, T-shirt, unlimited sampling of beer, wine, and schnapps, plus a special German Tasting Seminar hosted by Festival Founder, Greg Nivens, special guests plus the Oompah girls and guys. Tasting session includes authentic German Oktoberfest foods, sausages, chicken, pickle platters, pretzels, and much more.  Menu will include over 100 specialty beers and 4 different schnapps.

Tickets are limited and purchases made online will be available at WILL CALL at the Festival. Proper identification required. Applicable NY taxes and fees will be applied to the order.