Good Beer 2015

On Thursday, July 30, 2015, Edible Manhattan hosted its annual food and beer pairing event Good Beer at Hudson Mercantile. It was a scorcher that summer night, and what they say about hot air rising to the top certainly rang true, as my photog-in-crime Dorothy and I were sweltering on the 6th floor.  We were definitely riding a heat wave inside the building, but nothing that a cold glass of beer, or two, (or three!), couldn’t handle.

good beer - vendor sign

More than 20+ brewers were on hand to showcase some of their best ales and lagers. Overall, the beers were very drinkable, trending more towards the light and mild rather than the deep and robust, a flavor profile that was very fitting for a hot summer day. The craft beer industry in this country has been growing at an impressive pace, and it’s easy to see why after having tried the pours from tonight.

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the lager and the shandy from narragansett, two of my favorite beers of the night
good beer - montauk brewing 1
montauk brewing co

Two of my favorite beers were a lager and a shandy from Narragansett Beer, a brewery from Rhode Island. The lager was crisp and clear, and slightly sweet, while the shandy tasted like a packet of Lemonheads. I decided that I had to man up and try something a little more challenging, so I followed that up with the Guardsmen Stout from Montauk Brewery Co. As the name would suggest, it was extremely dark in taste, almost as if you were drinking a mixed brew of chocolate and coffee.

good beer - ommegang 8
ommegang’s witte and hopstate ny beers
did not try this intense looking joemmegang coffee ale
did not try this intense looking joemmegang coffee ale

I kept trying to push myself and confronted my worst fears–the “hoppy” beer. Hops is a plant used in the brewing process that oftentimes gives beer its funky, bitter taste, and it’s a flavor I have issues with, much like the ones I have with cilantro. However, Brewery Ommegang, which produces beer upstate in Cooperstown, New York, poured me some of their Hopstate NY beer, a beer brewed entirely with 100% New York grown hops. Apparently the hops industry in New York got wiped out in 1910, so it’s a pretty big deal to be revitalizing the industry just now. There was nothing bitter or unpleasant about the Hopstate. In fact, this may be my new go-to beer, which is far more interesting than my current one, Amstel Light.

the beer at mcgargles
the beer at mcgargles
the refreshing schofferhofer grapefruit beer from palm
the refreshing schofferhofer grapefruit beer from palm

I tried to stick to the local breweries where possible, but the Irish accents at McGargles Irish Craft Brewery had me intrigued, so I topped my glass off with their Cousin Rosie’s Pale Ale, a mild beer with notes of grapefruit and mango. I also stopped by Palm Breweries, a Belgian-based brewer, and absolutely loved their Schofferhofer grapefruit beer, which tasted like a spiked fruit juice.

oskar blue's pinner throwback ipa
oskar blue’s pinner throwback ipa

It was time to go back to trying the real beers. I sampled the PINNER Throwback session IPA from Oskar Blues, a brewer based in Colorado and North Carolina. What’s distinctive about this beer is that it has a lot of good, punchy flavors but low alcohol content, so you can crush this can if you’d like, without getting blacked out drunk. I then eased into an extremely challenging beer, the Bel Air Sour from Brooklyn Brewery. As one would expect, it did taste very tart and sour, made so by the lactic acid fermentation, but offset somewhat by the use of a champagne yeast.

good beer - troegs 2
the perpetual ipa from troegs
allagah's saison belgian style beer
allagash’s saison belgian style beer

Tröegs Brewing Company from Pennsylvania brought its Perpetual IPA to sample, which was made of six different hops. Again, for a hoppy beer, it was surprisingly subdued in flavor, and was very drinkable. The IPA from KelSo Beer Co, a Brooklyn brewery, was much more aromatic and hoppy in the traditional sense. I didn’t want to end my tastings on a hoppy note, and luckily the last pour of the night, a Belgian-inspired beer from Allagash Brewing Company, was fruity, not too bitter, and very user-friendly, as Belgian beers tend to be.

southern tier's imperial "pumking" ale
southern tier’s imperial “pumking” ale
great south bay's blood orange
great south bay’s blood orange pale ale
crabbie's ginger beer
crabbie’s ginger beer

There were some other fun drinks that fell outside of the scope of traditional beer that I tried, mainly because the flavors were just too good to pass up. The mischievous Pumpking beer from Southern Tier Brewing Company, a brewer in upstate NY, was one of them, although it didn’t quite taste like pumpkin pie. Something about it was too sweet and artificial. Likewise, the Blood Orange Pale Ale from Great South Bay Brewery, a brewer from Long Island, wasn’t all that citrusy or fruity. Crabbie’s original ginger beer was fantastic, tasting exactly like a refreshing ginger ale, except alcoholic, which is even better. Who knew that ginger alone could ferment in six weeks and naturally turn deliciously alcoholic? Tito’s Vodka made a surprise appearance in this beer party, and I gladly grabbed a glass of its moscow mule-inspired cocktail.

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the california cool decor at genuine superette
a crowd eagerly awaits the burger prep
a crowd eagerly awaits the burger prep
almond's housemade smoked chicken sausage and corn & green chili relish
almond’s housemade smoked chicken sausage and corn & green chili relish
untamed's cider braised pork butt sandwiches
untamed’s cider braised pork butt sandwiches
alice's arbor's locally sourced ham and potatoes
alice’s arbor’s locally sourced ham and potatoes

And of course, you can’t have a beer without a burger, and the Baja Burger from Genuine Superette, a California eatery in Nolita, really hit the spot–it was juicy and spicy, with a good bun to patty ratio, and it paired perfectly with the easy, breezy lagers from Narragansett. It was definitely one of the most popular food stands at Good Beer. Hot dogs are also a popular complement to beer, and it wasn’t surprising to see a lot of vendors serving up various renditions of sausage. My personal favorite was the chunky chicken sausage from Almond, which was served with an indulgent spicy aioli on top. It was a guilty pleasure, for sure, although I didn’t feel too bad about eating multiple servings. Untamed Sandwiches prepared a very hearty pork butt sandwich, while Alice’s Arbor, a farm-to-table restaurant in Brooklyn, presented a locally sourced pork and potato dish that was very clean and elegant, a nice respite from the many gut-bomb sausages that were out there.

good restaurant's beet-cured salmon, kirby cucumber, goat cream cheese and "everything" crumble
good restaurant’s beet-cured salmon, kirby cucumber, goat cream cheese and “everything” crumble
gramercy tavern's smoked bluefish and corn salad
gramercy tavern’s smoked bluefish and corn salad
the vanderbilt's sweet chili glazed duck wings
the vanderbilt’s sweet chili glazed duck wings
the vanderbilt's beef jerky, i just can't get enough
the vanderbilt’s beef jerky–we basically finished off this box

It was good to see some vendors think outside of the sausage/pork box. I loved the beet-cured salmon and dill goat cheese from Good Restaurant, a Modern American spot in the West Village. I was excited to see one of my all-time favorite restaurants Gramercy Tavern make an appearance here with a refreshing smoked bluefish and corn salad, a bite that was full of good texture and savory flavors. The Vanderbilt, a small plates restaurant in Prospect Park, was bold enough to serve marinated duck drumsticks, which were huge like the ones at a state fair. It was their beef jerky, though, that really caught our attention. The marinade was sweet and juicy, and Dorothy and I kept going back for more. I asked if they were selling any of the jerky to take home, but unfortunately they weren’t meant for retail.

the samples at lawless jerky
the samples at lawless jerky
ellary's greens' chickpea burger
ellary’s greens’ chickpea burger
communal oven & earth's  miso glaze tofu balls
communal oven & earth’s miso glaze tofu balls

Lawless Jerky, a craft jerky company that uses only 100% grass-fed beef, also had some samples, and I really did like the Sweet Sriracha flavor. There were also vegetarian options from Ellary’s Greens and Communal Oven & Earth, two healthy eateries in the West Village and UWS, respectively. I found the tofu meatball and soba noodles from Communal especially refreshing and well seasoned.

As the event wound down, we were definitely buzzed and in a good place. Aside from the AC issue, I thought the event was well done and lived up to its promise of serving “Good Beer” to its guests. The floors were easy to navigate and there was enough beer and food to go around for everyone. While last call was at 9 pm, there’s still a good month of summer left–let’s drink to that!

*All photos by Dorothy Chin.

Summer Food Events 2015

Secret Summer 3

Good Beer on Thursday, July 30, 2015, from 6:00-9:00 pm

Edible Manhattan will host Good Beer, their annual beer and food pairing event, at Hudson Mercantile (500 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10019) on Thursday, July 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. Brewers will offer their best ales and lagers paired up with eats from popular New York restaurants and food artisans. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase bottles or cans of select beers to bring home. Tickets cost $65 and can be purchased at http://bit.ly/1BTaho2.

Website: http://www.ediblemanhattan.com
Ticketing:
General Admission (6-9pm) – $65

Secret Summer on Sunday, Aug 2, 2015, from 4:00-10:00 pm

The Foundry is host to Secret Summer, an all-inclusive, farm-to-table Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed cocktail festival that will showcase inventive mixology and farm-to-table eats while advocating progressive ideas about locality, sustainability and tomorrow’s tech integrations. Enjoy picture-perfect farm-to-bar cocktails mixed by Andrew Maturana of “Rapt Affairs” and Chef Varon Carillo’s fresh-from-the-butcher proteins on the “Grass Fed Grill”. Food trucks from Korilla BBQ, Morris Food Truck and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream will also be on hand to dish up their seasonal offerings throughout the day.

Website: http://secretsummernyc.com/
Ticketing:
General Admission Pass (4-6pm) – $150
VIP Pass (3-10pm) – $280, includes early event VIP access with press/tastemakers from 3-4pm, entry to the VIP Lounge, featuring a raw bar Oyster station, champagne cocktails and more
All tickets come with a code for a free Lyft car to the party!

Cook Out NYC’s Ciderfeast on Saturday, Aug 8, 2015, from 5:00-9:00 pm

Ciderfeast is a sophisticated outdoor cider event featuring the best regional, national and European ciders from more than a dozen cider makers pouring 30+ ciders as well as perfectly paired outdoor grillables and live folk music.‎ Taking place on the Manhattan waterfront at Stuyvesant Cove Park (enter at East 23rd Street at the East River), Ciderfeast is your mid-summer solution for those who cannot wait until the fall for NYC’s annual Cider Week.

Website: http://cookoutnyc.com/
Ticketing:
General Admission (5-9pm) – $60
VIP Early Access (4-9pm) – $85, includes early event VIP access to chefs and cidermakers as they prep. First dibs on all the best ciders of the event!

 

Edible Manhattan’s 4th Annual Good Spirits Event Recap

This winter in NYC has been a brutal one. The snowstorms have been relentless, wreaking havoc on our commute and social lives in countless ways. One event that got swept up in winter’s fury was Edible Manhattan’s Fourth Annual Good Spirits soiree. Originally planned for February 13th, it was postponed to March 20th when yet another powerful snowstorm shut down everything in the Northeast.

I was having a bad case of winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD!), and I was really looking forward to taking the edge off with food and drinks from some of New York’s finest vendors. Which was why it was so disappointing to hear about the weather delay. It’s sort of like when you’re at an airport, ready to take off for your trip to Aruba, only to hear that all flights at JFK have been grounded due to a blizzard. To console myself, I poured myself a glass of wine at home. It helped a little, but it definitely wasn’t the same.

Luckily Feb 13th came in like a lion, and March 20th came out like a lamb, and I could finally get my drink on! And scheduling for a Thursday night was perfect timing, because after 4 intense days of deliverables and meetings, what better way to blow off some steam than getting buzzed on some classy cocktails?

The underground loft space at 82 Mercer in Soho was optimized for housing a large group of spirits enthusiasts under one roof. Normally food festivals and tasting events can be overwhelming, with long lines and overcrowding putting a damper on the festivities. However, the ratio of spirits to guests here was very reasonable, making for a civilized and enjoyable evening. The only criticism that I had was that the food ran out pretty quickly 2 hours into the event, so my spirits to food consumption was a bit lopsided. No worries, though, there were plenty of other protein and carbs to keep my hangover in check!

There were about 60 tables set up at Good Spirits, and we managed to drink and eat our way through all of them. Here’s a recap of some of the spirits and food samples that really stood out that night. A huge shout out to my talented friend Caroline Nelson, who took the awesome pictures on this post–thanks so much for helping me out on Thursday! If it were me taking the photos, they would have become mighty blurry towards the end of the night. 🙂

good spirits - prohibition cupcake 2
prohibition bakery’s the revolver cupcake

Prohibition Bakery’s The Revolver Cupcake – A LES bakery run by two pastry chefs devoted to baking boozy cupcakes? These are two girls after my own heart! The delicious Revolver cupcake, which was infused with Four Roses Bourbon and orange bitters, generated an interesting and aromatic flavor profile similar to Earl Grey.

good spirits - lejay spritz
the lejay spritz

Lejay Spritz – I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I like my cocktails sweet and uncomplicated, which explains why the refreshing Lejay spritz was my favorite cocktail of the night. The combination of Lejay creme de cassis, a sweet, dark liqueur derived from blackcurrants, champagne and sparkling water went down nice and easy. The deep vermilion coloring also made it the prettiest. The frou frou girliness of it all made it pretty clear who Lejay was targeting, and I don’t care that I totally fell for it.

good spirits - the penrose smoked trout rilette and pickled mustard seeds
the penrose’s crostini with smoked trout rilette and pickled mustard seeds

The Penrose’s Smoked Trout Crostini – Smoked fish and creme fraiche is one of those classic flavor pairings that never go out of style, and it also holds up very well at a 3 hour event. The small, rich mixture of trout, potatoes and cream coated the palate in a full-bodied layer that served as a perfect foil to the sharp, smoky acidity of the different spirits.

good spirits - greenhook ginsmiths
bottles of greenhook ginsmiths gin

Greenhook Ginsmiths Last Word Cocktail – The name of this cocktail was quite fitting, because after I tried it, I was speechless. I had never tasted anything quite like it. The mixture of Greenhook Ginsmiths gin, fresh lime juice and green chartreuse tasted like Christmas trees, smoke and lavender all at once.

good spirits - luca+bosco whiskey fudge rebellion and drunk and salty caramel ice cream
luca & bosco’s drunk and salty caramel and whiskey fudge rebellion ice cream

Luca & Bosco Ice Cream – Luca & Bosco playfully embraced the spirits theme by incorporating some into its Whiskey Fudge Rebellion and Drunk & Salty Caramel ice cream flavors. The former was made with some Jameson, while the latter was made with Woodford Reserve bourbon. The Drunk & Salty Caramel was my favorite sweet dessert of the night. The texture was so pleasingly light, fluffy and airy, almost as if I were eating ice cream clouds, and the slight hint of salted caramel was perfect.

good spirits - barrow's intense 2
barrow’s intense ginger liqueur

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur’s “El Caballito” – I had a lot of questions about this one. First of all, what does el caballito mean? Answer: pony. Second, where does the pony come in in the cocktail? He then revealed that the artisanal Mezcal Vago that was in the drink was made with some smoked agave drawn and ground by horses. The drink was slightly smoky and very reminiscent of a margarita, and the papalo plant provided some complex herbal accents that brightened up the cocktail.

good spirits - monument lane pork shoulder 2
monument lane’s smoked pork shoulder and baked beans

Monument Lane’s Smoked Pork Shoulder and Baked Beans – Back in fourth grade, when we were in our Gold Rush history phase, our teacher Mr. Katz cooked some baked beans and bbq for us to give us a taste of a gold miner’s life. This hearty bite from Monument Lane took me back to that time where we all wore overalls and pretended to be roughing it. Sweet, smoky and savory, this “cowboy breakfast” was comforting and nostalgic.

good spirits - 1889 by geijer glogg
1889 by geijer glögg

1889 by Geijer Glögg – This unfamiliar Scandinavian mouthful definitely caught my eye. Apparently glögg is a Swedish drink that has long been part of the European holiday tradition. It certainly is the perfect winter elixir, heavily spiced with cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and orange peels to ward off winter’s ills.

good spirits - hecho en dumbo beef skewers
hecho en dumbo’s beef tongue skewers

Hecho En Dumbo’s Beef Tongue Skewers – Serving beef tongue at a big event is a pretty bold move, but luckily Hecho En Dumbo’s risky bet paid off. The beef tongue, which was cured in-house and braised in whiskey, had the texture and consistency of pancetta, which was a pleasant surprise. The creamy cactus dipping sauce that accompanied it was spicy and fantastic.

good spirits - hudson bay
hudson whiskey’s two-hit fig punch

Hudson Whiskey’s Two-Hit Fig Punch – The two-hit fig punch was another one of those pleasant and uncomplicated cocktails that I like so much. You have to be careful with this drink because the innocuous punch flavors are very misleading, and you could easily drink way too many of these way too quickly. There’s no messing around with the two lethal hits of bourbon and rum!

good spirits - l+w oyster co taco
l&w oyster co.’s crispy smoked long island oyster tacos

L&W Oyster Co.’s Oyster Taco – I love oysters, especially in a boozy happy hour setting, so I thought it made a lot of sense that L&W Oyster Co. decided to pay homage to a cherished drinking tradition with some oyster tacos. The tasty oysters were coated in cornmeal and then fried, making it the optimal platform to absorb all that alcohol.

good spirits - coppersea

Coppersea Distilling’s Elettaria Sour – I’ve heard of rye whiskey, but not raw rye aged whiskey (try saying that tongue twister 10x fast). A key component of raw rye whiskey is that it consists of 75% unmalted rye and 25% malted barley, a throwback to how whiskey would have been made in the 1800s. The Elettaria Sour cocktail was very creamy and frothy, similar to a White Russian in texture, but definitely not as sweet.

good spirits - bitter end brownies
whole foods’ bitter end brownies

Whole Foods’ Bitter End Brownies – I have such a sweet tooth, so of course I headed straight for the brownies as soon as I saw them. Whole Foods approached the spirits theme by injecting their brownies with Mexican Mole Bitters, which added some robust complexity to these delicious bites.