Yogurt-Bacteria Beer? Yes, Please!

 Photo:  Joanna Warden

Photo:  Joanna Warden

Increasingly today, beers defined, and differentiated, by offbeat yeast strains and bacteria. It’s tough for brewers to stand apart in today’s bustling beer scene, even if they add day-old doughnuts to a brew kettle. Quirky microorganisms, however, can help brewers carve out a flavorful niche without having to resort to gimmickry or a hop avalanche.

I tackle the rising trend for SevenFifty Daily. Also: I seem to never stop writing stories these days. 

Dairy Farms Find a Lifeline: Beer

 Photo: Tony Luong

Photo: Tony Luong

 

As a journalist, I try to pay attention to the story behind the obvious story. Sure, dairy farms are becoming breweries. But why? Survival, a way to keep the old traditions alive in the face of economic upheaval. For The New York Times, I investigate how breweries are embracing a different kind of liquid capital to bolster bottom lines.

The Absolute Best Distillery Tasting Rooms

 Photo: Mark Abramson

Photo: Mark Abramson

Regulatory changes and a DIY spirit have led to a renaissance in local distilling, as bootstrap brands have set up shop throughout the boroughs, installing gleaming copper stills and stacks of oak casks, the resting place for raw moonshine to slowly evolve into whiskey worthy of a nightcap. Vodka, gin, rum, and even cacao liqueur are now native to New York, giving the city’s saloons a chance to concoct locavore cocktails. But why bend elbows at any old bar when you can sip spirits and mixed drinks straight from the source? Many of today’s distilleries offer tours and house tasting rooms or even their own cocktail bars worthy of a visit at happy hour — or any hour, honestly. The best destination distilleries blend a warm welcome and fun vibe with distinctive spirits that break flavorful new terrain. Here are the absolute best distilleries to visit in New York City.

Magnums! For Brewers, Bigger Bottles Are Sometimes Better

 Photo: Brewery Bhavana

Photo: Brewery Bhavana

For SevenFifty Daily, I take a dive into the recent trend of breweries embracing oversize magnum bottles. Here's the intro...

In this hop-mad moment, craft-brewing buffs regularly queue up at breweries to buy freshly canned IPAs, beer’s hottest currency. Suarez Family Brewery, in New York State’s scenic Hudson Valley, plays a different game.

Suarez specializes in unfiltered lagers, delicate pale ales, and what cofounder and brewer Dan Suarez calls country beers. His rustic creations embrace local agricultural riches—whether fruits, grains or herbs—with wild yeasts and souring bacteria lending extra complexity.

Variations such as the oak-seasoned 100 Ft North are packaged in 750-milliliter bottles that are regularly available at Suarez’s taproom near Hudson. Top-shelf quality notwithstanding, North rarely draws feverish droves, except when Suarez alters one variable: size. “If we sell magnums, people will line up and it will fly out the door,” he says of the 1.5-liter bottle, which costs $32. “We’ve been quite surprised about how excited people get about magnums, even though we have thousands of the same beers in 750s.”

Boozy Kombucha: Probiotics Paired With a Buzz

 Photo credit: Boochcraft

Photo credit: Boochcraft

Kombucha has always boasted a wee bit of booze, the byproduct of fermentation. Now, breweries and start-ups across the country are turning up the alcohol, creating products as alcohol-loaded as a beer. I take a dive into health-conscious drinking for Wine Enthusiast.

The Reinvented Beer and a Shot

 Photo: Arcane Distilling

Photo: Arcane Distilling

For Men's Journal, I tackle one of the more unique trends in brewing today: beer whiskey.

See, modern brewers regularly dabble in distilleries’ toolsheds, aging rich stouts and barley wines in onetime whiskey and bourbon barrels. Now distillers are turning the tables and producing beer-inspired whiskeys: seasoning them with citrusy hops for a subtle, fruity kick; using ale yeast to give them extra richness; and even distilling IPAs into a hoppy, fragrant liquor.