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Fall 2017: The Complete Writing Roundup

Annoyed_Kid
Annoyed_Kid

Words, words, words. It's been a banner season for writing, my friends, what with another book on the horizon and whatnot. Curious about what I've written lately? Wildly bored at work? Both? Here's your chance to kill time and take a deep dive into my mind. And if you're a publicist, for the last time, I don't write about wine.

The New York Times, "Beer Makers Who Used Other Breweries Are Opening Their Own": Why gypsy and contract brewers are opening up brick-and-mortar outposts.

The New York Times, "11-Hour Lines for a New Ale? Fans Wait, Breweries Worry": Double IPAs make folks do the darndest things.

The New York Times, "Why Settle for a Brew When There’s a Whole Brewery?":On the newest batch of breweries to pop up in New York City.

Gear Patrol: "How the Beer Can Became a Canvas for Breweries" 

Imbibe, “Blonde Ambition”: Why brewers are embracing blonde ales.

Imbibe, “How Craft Brewers Are Writing Their Second Acts”

Imbibe, “'Tis the Season for Holiday Beer”:Why do folks go so crazy for Christmas beer?

Good Beer Hunting, “The Skyline's the Limit”: On drinking beer 60 feet above New York City, with detours into porn and 9/11.

Draft, “Hip Hops”: Having ridden freight trains and managed a record label, Brooklyn’s spirited Jesse Ferguson faces his newest adventure: running NYC’s next great brewery and distillery.

Men’s Journal, “Rosé by Another Name”:  Beer and cider are tickled pink, too.

Men’s Journal, “A Lesson in Restraint: Getting to Know Table Beer”

Men’s Journal,“In the Golden Age of IPAs, Consumers Deserve Clearer Bottle-Dating”

Wine Enthusiast, “The Foggy and Flavorful World of Unfiltered Beer”: I dive deep into the haze craze.

Wine Enthusiast, “Discover Second Runnings: Small Beers With Big Flavors”: Who knew? Smaller is sometimes better.

BeerAdvocate Magazine, “Wholesale Change: Breweries and Upstart Distributors Are Writing New Rules for Selling Beer”

BeerAdvocate Magazine, “Wort’s Weird Journey: Beer’s Sometimes Unpredictable Path From Grain to Glass”

October: "The Session IPA Is Dead! Long Live the Session IPA"

October: "Right Proper Spins Old Yeast Into a New Yarn"

October: "Run the Jewels Puts Extra Hops in Their Hip-Hop"

October: "Smooth Move: Ballast Point and the Mouthfeel Movement"

October: "Bruery Terreux's Turo: Is It Even Beer?"

Announcing: Meet Randolph—An Early Sneak Preview of the Randolph Beer DUMBO Brewery

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WHAT:MeetRandolph—An Early Sneak Preview of Randolph Beer DUMBO WHEN: Thursday, July 20, 6:30 p.m.–9 p.m.WHERE: 77 Sands Street (near Jay Street), DUMBO, Brooklyn TICKETS: $35. Includes dinner and endless beer. 

Brooklyn is in the midst of a brewery boom, with beer makers popping up in every nook and cranny of the borough. Next month welcomes Brooklyn's latest entrant, Randolph Beer DUMBO.

Randolph? Does that name ring a bell? That’s because the Randolph groupruns two all-star beer bars in NoLiTa and Williamsburg. This spanking-new location will focus on a highly curated selection of beers complemented by house-made concoctions (think: hop-focused pale ales, rustic saisons) cooked up by Brooklyn Brewery veteran J.R. Jordan.

While the brewery is not yet open to the public, you’ll get an early sneak preview of the 5,500-square-foot space, meet the brewery crew and sip through an endless stream of beers and feast on sliders (vegetarian and carnivorous), warm grain bowls and pretzels partnered with homemade beer cheese. Randolph will do his very best to charm you.

Your host will be Brooklyn beer journalist Joshua M. Bernstein, who will say many words while drinking many beers.

Announcing: The New Brooklyn Homebrew Tour and An Early Look at Five Boroughs

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Fine drinkers!

Well, that was a heat wave, wasn't it? Well, at least there's cold beer, and plenty of it.

For starters, thanks so much for buying tickets to the Crown Heights Homebrew Tour. We sold out, but never fear. We have two great events the weekend of July 8 and 9: another homebrew tour and an early look at Brooklyn's Five Boroughs Brewing. Curious?

WHAT: Prospect Heights and Fort Greene Homebrew Tour WHEN:Sunday, July 9, 1 p.m.WHERE: Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, Brooklyn TICKETS:$35. They're available now.

Today's tour will walk us through Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, Brooklyn. We'll sip Jon Serluco's pale ales and ambers, then try Alex Biedermann's wild and funky farmhouse ales and saisons—some of my favorite beers from this year's Homebrew Jamboree. Lastly, we'll wrap up with Alex Kalaf's fragrant West Coast IPAs, as crushable as the summer days are long. Note: Today's guide will be Sheri Lyn, a founding member of the Brewminaries homebrew club.

Here are the details on the special sneak preview of Brooklyn's next great brewery, Five Boroughs.

WHAT: Take Five—An Early Look at Five Boroughs Brewing Co. WHERE: 215 47th Street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn WHEN:Saturday, July 8, 1 p.m.TICKETS:$30. They're available now.

Some folks journey to Sunset Park for tacos, others for dumplings and hand-yanked noodles. On Saturday, July 8, fans of spanking-fresh IPAs, pilsners, and raspberry goses should make hay to the melting-pot neighborhood for an early look at Five Boroughs Brewing Co., New York City's latest and greatest brewery.

Haven't heard of Five Boroughs? That's because the team has spent the better part of two years turning a bygone factory into a 30-barrel production facility (read: huge) and spacious taproom dedicated to New York City's dynamic and creative spirit.

Five Boroughs beers are made for the Bronx's hidden trails and sprawling Manhattan avenues. For lounging in Staten Island backyards and on Brooklyn fire escapes. For cutting out early in Queens and staying out late everywhere. The brewery's goal is to create a culture that encompasses every New Yorker, offering beers they can call their own.

The brewery isn't yet open to the public. But this afternoon Five Boroughs will open for a special behind-the-scenes tour complete with samples of the ready-for-primetime beer (more on that below). We'll also have food, likely the finest tamales Sunset Park can offer.

Ready to Take Five? Tickets are limited. The experience: not to be repeated.

Beers:

Pilsner - The Czech-style pilsner is light in color and body, with a clean, bitter finish. Czech Saaz hops impart soft floral and grassy aromas. This style is deceptively difficult to brew, and we've worked hard to refine this underrated lager. (5.0% ABV)

Gose - An incredibly drinkable low-ABV beer, our Gose is a textbook blend of acidic sourness and saltiness. Fermented cool with our house ale yeast, this beer finishes super clean with barely-there bitterness. (4.0% ABV)

Raspberry Gose - The clean, pleasantly salty Gose is conditioned on heaps of ripe raspberries. The result is a flawless blend of salty tartness and sweet fruit. This spin on our standard Gose has a refreshingly prickly carbonation and a noticeable dryness that perfectly accompanies New York City summers. (4.0% ABV)

IPA - Our IPA is a modern take on the West Coast original. We add most of the hops late in the brewing process, resulting in a colossal aroma of citrus balanced by herbs and pine. Flaked wheat and Optic malt contribute complexity and body, but this beer is all about hop aroma and bitterness. (6.8% ABV)

Helles - Our take on this classic Munich lager is brewed with Hallertau hops, German pilsner malt, and soft New York City tap water. The Helles is a testament to precisely balanced, high-quality raw materials. Fermented long and cold with our house lager yeast, this Helles offers a crackery malt backbone and restrained bitterness. (4.5% ABV)

Wheat Pilsner - Wheat malt and Motueka hops may be the last ingredients youd expect in a traditional pilsner, but they provide the old-world beer with distinctive new-world flavors. Late-addition Motueka hops lend a nice lime-zest character and the German wheat malt adds a bit of tartness with a soft, creamy mouthfeel. (5.5% ABV)

Mosaic Pale Ale - Our Mosaic Pale Ale starts with a grain bill that includes a generous amount of pale rye malt and flaked wheat. Next comes a massive addition of Mosaic hops, resulting in huge notes of tropical fruit, berries, and citrus. The Pale Ale's profile is accentuated by small additions of Chinook hops, which contribute a balancing piney-herbal character. (5.8% ABV)

Announcing: Can Jam—Summer Edition

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can jam letter-page-001 (1)

Fine drinkers,

Hope everyone is having a great spring so far. We've got some killer events planned for the coming months, including a return of the homebrew tours (!).

First things first, I've once again partnered with Threes Brewing to run another edition of our Can Jam. And this one is a doozy.

WHAT: Can Jam Summer Edition WHERE:Threes Brewing (333 Douglass St.), Gowanus, Brooklyn WHEN:Sunday, June 4, 12 p.m.– 6 p.m.COST: Free to attend. Pay as you palm the cans. FACEBOOK LINK: Right here.

Can you dig it? This afternoon, slap on some sunscreen and boogey to Threes for our latest Can Jam, featuring many of the country's biggest and rarest cult beers. Ever wanted to crush cans from the The Veil, Hoof Hearted, Proclamation, Fair State, Seventh Son, and the Big Apple's all-stars (Other Half, LIC Beer Project, Finback and more)? Here's your chance.

Also: We'll also have two beer bongs. And cans of Graft Cider.

Note: Cans are for on-premise consumption only. And they will be priced to pound.

IPA for the Holidays

josh_ipa_book_bergen It wouldn't be the holidays if I weren't flogging the heck out of my book and drinking way too many double IPAs. For one final event before the year drifts away, I'm partnering with my friends at Brooklyn beer hall Berg'n and Interboro, who will be toting a sleigh full of freshly canned double IPAs. Buy a book, get a beer and buzz! Getting bitter for the holidays has never felt so good.

WHAT: Complete IPA Book Signing at Berg’n WHEN: Thursday, December 22, 6 p.m.– 9 p.m. WHERE: 899 Bergen Street (between Classon and Franklin), Brooklyn, New York TICKETS: Free

November 2016 Writing: The Overdue Round-up

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alcohol

Hey friends, it's been a roller coaster of a couple months, skittering across the country to drink my body weight in double IPAs while, well, promoting Complete IPA.  In the meantime, I've been writing. Words. So many words! So many words about beer! And life! And how it all fits in together. Below, here's a smattering on what I've published over the last three or four months. Bored? You're in luck! these stories should ably waste a few minutes of your day.

Imbibe, “Old News”:  Craft brewers are reviving ancient styles to set themselves apart.

Imbibe, “Like a Good Neighbor”:Local breweries are becoming the essential neighborhood hubs.

Draft, “Love Bites”:How Mekelburg’s became a Brooklyn beer and gourmet mecca.

Men’s Journal, “Our Next Vice President's Favorite Place to Drink”:Hint: It's in Virginia.

Men’s Journal, “What Was the Last Beer That Blew Your Mind?”: It's a telephone game of deliciousness.

Men’s Journal, “How to Survive a Summer Vacation With Your Kids”:Drink?

Men’s Journal, “The Beer Drinker's Guide to Summer Wine”

Wine Enthusiast, “A Fresh Guide to Hops in Beer”: Become an instant expert on beer’s most prized flowers. Wet, fresh or dried, know the difference and discover essential hop varieties.

Wine Enthusiast, “Yeast Mode”: Think only hops and grains guide beer’s flavor? You’re overlooking a crucial tastemaker.

Eater, “Beer Review: Evil Twin Sour Bikini Tastes Like Liquid Flintstones Vitamins

Eater, “Beer Review: Allagash's Little Brett Takes a Walk on the Wild Side”

Eater, “Beer Review: Starr Hill Four Kings IPA Variety Pack” 

Eater, “Why You Should Drink House Beer” 

BeerAdvocate Magazine, “The Imitation Game”:How brewers create consistency across a range of different facilities.

Bon Appétit, “Six Beer Trends to Look Out for in 2017”: Here's why you'll fall into lager.

Bon Appétit, “Maple Syrup Is Surprisingly Delicious in Beer”:It is!

Bon Appétit, “IPAs for People Who *Think* They Hate Them”:  Bye-bye, bitterness.

Bon Appétit, “You're Either Going to Love or Loathe Cucumber Beer”: Where do you sit on the fence?

Bon Appétit, “An Ode to Pilsners”:  Why should be crushing these crazy refreshers.

Culture, “Cheese + Beer: Saison”: Pairing cheese with spring saisons is a boss move.

Culture, “Cheese + Beer: Cream Ales”: Or maybe you'd favor a crisp, slightly cream ale.

First We Feast, "8 Common IPA Myths, Debunked"

Announcing: Can Jam at Threes Brewing

canjam WHAT: Can Jam WHERE: Threes Brewing (333 Douglass St.), Gowanus, Brooklyn WHEN: Sunday, November 6, 12 p.m.– 5 p.m.

New York City breweries make some of the Northeast's best IPAs. Cracking into an aluminum-clad double IPA, however, often requires traveling directly to every brewery and waiting in line.

Today you don't need to wait.

To celebrate my latest book, Complete IPA, we've corralled fresh canned IPAs from 11 of the area's best IPA breweries, counting Other Half, Grimm, Finback, KCBC, Interboro, and more. Cans will be sold in the backyard, where I'll sign copies of my book and gawk in terror and wonder at the beer-bong competition.

I repeat, we will have a beer bong.

The event is free to attend. Cans are only available for on-site consumption, though we will have a limited number of book-and-beer gift packs available to go.

P.S. Want extra reason to celebrate? It's the NYC Marathon, which will sprint past on nearby Fourth Avenue.
Beer List (to date):

** Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.: Flannel Shirt (Red IPA) ** Grimm Artisanal Ales: Tesseract (Double IPA) ** Interboro NYC: The Next Episode (Double IPA) ** Gun Hill Brewing Company: Roll Call: EC3 (East Coast IPA) ** LIC Beer Project: Backjump ** Kings County Brewers Collective: Robot Fish #1 and Robot Fish #2 (Session IPAs) ** Finback Brewery: Chromoscope (Double IPA dry-hopped with Simcoe) / Cell (IPA dry-hopped with Citra) ** Other Half Brewing Company / Trillium Brewing Company Like Whoa (Double IPA) ** Threes Brewing Unreliable Narrator (IPA) and Other Ephemera (Hoppy Lager) ** Evil Twin Brewing Imperial Simcoe Slacker (Double IPA) ** Stillwater Artisanal Nu-Tropic (Tropical IPA)

IPA in LIC: A Hoppy Crawl in Four Parts. With Whiskey.

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It's time for me to dust off the ol' beer-can stick and lead another tour. To tie into the launch of Complete IPA, I'm leading a tour to four Long Island City breweries, each of which will pour special IPAs.

We're starting with haze-bomb specialists LIC Beer Project, before moving onto Big Alice Brewing and its collection of innovative, agrarian-inspired beers. Afterward, we're heading to Fifth Hammer Brewing Company for a sneak preview of Chris Cuzme's forthcoming brewery. Lastly, we're finishing at Rockaway Brewing Co. where the brewers have cooked up a very special IPA (think: aroma-mobbed, madly flavorful) just for us. For the final proof that this afternoon is epic, Arcane Distilling is turning the Rockaway IPA into whiskey for us to toast at the end.

Prep your liver.

Tickets are available now.

WHAT: IPA in LIC: A Hoppy Crawl in Four Parts. With Whiskey. WHEN: Saturday, October 22, 1 p.m. WHERE: Long Island City, Queens TICKETS: $40. They're available here.

Complete IPA Release Party at Brooklyn Brewery

CompleteIPA_Release Fine drinkers!

Hope everyone is having a splendid summer. With September on the horizon, I'm getting some fun events cooking for fall. First up: It's the release party for my new book, Complete IPA, set to be released in September. To celebrate we're throwing a big ol' bash at Brooklyn Brewery. The details:

WHAT: Complete IPA Book Release Party WHEN: Tuesday, September 20, 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. WHERE: Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th St., nr. Wythe Avenue; Williamsburg, Brooklyn) TICKETS: They're available today at 2 p.m.

Tickets will be available in two tiers:

* The $25 ticket will get you unlimited Brooklyn Brewery beer, food from Auria's Malaysian Kitchen and a copy of Complete IPA (a $20 value).

* If you're just down to celebrate, the $20 ticket will get you unlimited Brooklyn Brewery beer and food. However, this is a book-release party. If you're coming, don't you really want a book?

***

Tonight, come join drinkers and thinkers at the Brooklyn Brewery as we proudly host the release party for Complete IPA, Brooklyn author Joshua M. Bernstein's comprehensively fragrant, sometimes bitter, occasionally tropical and always refreshing guide to the global IPA phenomenon.

What better way to celebrate a beer book than with, well, plenty of beer. Brooklyn Brewery will be opening up their IPA-heavy draft lines and popping bottles of its award-winning Belgian-style beers and other rarities. Josh will be on hand to sign books and make bad hop puns. Plus: eats by Auria's Malaysian Kitchen.

Looking forward to celebrating with everyone at the Brooklyn Brewery!

Note: The event has a limited capacity. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance. We can't guarantee there will be tickets available at the door.

Coming in September: Complete IPA

Complete IPA

Hey there! Been a little it, hasn't it? That's because I've spent much of the last seven months writing a book, stressing about writing a book, revising a book, editing a book and, oh yeah, taking care of a toddler and writing stories. So many stories!

But I'm here to tell you about the book. On September 13, my publisher, Sterling, will release my latest book, Complete IPA. (Want to pre-order it? Click here!) What's it about? Why did I decide to write it? Thanks for asking! The explanation all starts with a dollar bill. (Note: This excerpt is way expanded from my book intro.)

During the late ’90s, my wobbly undergrad-journalist days at Ohio University, I regularly patronized O’Hooley’s. (Today it has transformed into Jackie O's, one of the Midwest's better breweries.) It was a dark and smoky Irish brewpub, popular with bluegrass bands, dispensing brown ales, pale ales, stouts, and other full-bodied crowd-pleasers. What made O’Hooley’s special, especially for a cash-poor college kid, was Power Hour: for 60 glorious minutes, every house draft was $1. A buck! At first I was a greedy, greedy gumdrops, downing three or four in an hour, alcohol, not flavor, my chief concern.

Not every night needed be a blast-off to a blackout. Over time, I started discussing the beers with friends, asking questions, divining why they tasted different. The answers in time led me down delicious tributaries bubbling with monk-brewed Belgian tripels, robust barley wines, rich doppelbocks, and, oh yeah, the occasional India pale ale. Fifteen years back, the IPA was one of many teleporters into a fermented cosmos far more flavorful, far more interesting than what I could gulp from a keg while suspended upside down by my ankles.

What a difference a decade and a half makes.

Beer today is an all-you-can-eat luncheon, glutted with bourbon-barreled imperial stouts, salty ’n sour German ales spritzed with blood oranges, and rustic saisons gone funky with wild yeast. But when people first approach that smorgasbord, empty glass extended, the first (and second and third) selection is often an IPA, the king of contemporary beer.

Whereas for me it was stouts and Belgians that hipped me to a world beyond the bulk-buy lager, mass-produced and massively forgettable, the IPA is oftentimes today’s introductory touchstone of taste. Bitterness and citrus, pine trees and dankness worthy of a weed-filled one-hitter, they’re flavors and fragrances that are easy to grasp, easy to love, easy to obsess over. A generation ago, brewing IPAs made brewers stand out. Now brewers make IPAs to fit in, our ceaseless thirst driving production.

Most every brewer in America, more than 4,300 as of publication and climbing nearly daily, and a growing number around the globe, makes some iteration of an IPA. It’s a category as elastic as it is overcrowded. Those three letters used to be shorthand for bitterness and a fair bit of booze. Now an IPA is code word for flavor. It’s anything and everything, a fever dream filled with hops, kegged, and served cold.

I kind of saw it coming. As a journalist hard on the beer beat since the early aughts, I noticed the uptick in IPAs, the beers growing brasher and more prevalent. However, I thought the wave would crest and crash, followed by another. That’s the nature of trends. The IPA, though, was not a single upsurge; it was a rolling series of swells, some bigger, some smaller, all impactful, steadily eroding prevailing beliefs that beer equaled a fizzed-up yellow lager.

So many waves of IPAs arrived, from every which direction, it was becoming a superhuman endeavor to track them. And it was my job. To provide a concise snapshot of the pervasive, always changing, forever evolving beer style, creating a kind of bitter Rosetta Stone, I resolved to write The Complete IPA. Yes, it’s about beer. It’s also about the ingenuity of brewers taking an idea, taking raw material, and making it massively memorable, utterly distinct, and paradigm shifting—no easy shakes.

Creating a printed document in the forward-hurtling beer world can be thorny, text dated before the tome touches a shelf. I tried to read tealeaves, but with IPAs the only foregone certainty is flux. There’s likely some experimental hop, just taking root, filled with flavors we never dreamed possible in a flower, destined to upend the IPA game forever.

And that’s what keeps me writing and drinking, not necessarily in that order. We’re living in an IPA world. Complete IPA shows you how to drink it in, down to the dollar.