Why Hard Seltzer Is Bubbling Up at Breweries

Photo: Scott McIntyre

Photo: Scott McIntyre

As breweries try to keep sales flying high in a highly competitive market, a number of breweries are wading into the bubbly waters of alcoholic seltzer, one of the fizziest beverage trends of 2019. For The New York Times, I dive deep into the trend to discover what happens when breweries start cooking up boozy LaCroix.

Let's Go to the Mall...for Beer

Photo: Explorium Brewpub

Photo: Explorium Brewpub

I spent much of my youth wandering malls, buying cassette tapes and eating McDonald’s burgers in the food court. It was my childhood, no changing that, but I don’t have a hankering to return to a mall anytime soon. But if there’s one thing that could change that, it’s beer. Beer! Taking advantage of ample square footage, affordable real estate and a captive audience sick of Sbarro, a number of breweries have taken root in malls that are trying to re-cast their image for a new generation. I tackle the story for SevenFifty Daily.

Craft Beer New York Is Out!

After many months, and many more beers, I'm pleased to announce the release of Craft Beer New York, the one-stop shop for all you need to know about drinking craft beer in New York City. The iPhone app is available from the App store for the low, low price of $1.99—in other words, far cheaper than your favorite craft beer. If you're so inclined, check out the app here. It'll be a handy tool next time you come to NYC. And on that note, I need a beer. Methinks I'll have this one. 

Announcing the Craft Beer New York App: Out November 15

You might say I'm a glutton for punishment. The last three years have been a madcap whirlwind of writing books (have you got your copy of Brewed Awakening yet?!), writing hundreds of articles, getting married and going on an endless, endlessly drunken book tour. Oh, and then I wrote another beer b ook, which I just wrapped up a few weeks ago—more details to come next year. So you'd think I'd want to sit on my rear end, perhaps drink a beer out of pleasure, instead out of journalistic duty (not that there's really a difference, actually).

But no.

Instead, the fine folks at London's Blue Crow Media met with me and said, "Hey, Josh. You live in New York. You like to drink craft beer. You even used to review bars."

I said, "That is very true."

They said, "Would you like to write an iPhone app on the best craft beer bars, breweries and bottle shops in New York?"

"No," I said. Then I thought about it. Nearly every day, people ask me where to get the best beer in New York. Because I grew up in Ohio and have good manners, I tell them. By doing this app, folks would get all my picks and my wildly subjective opinions in one place! "I'll do it," I said."

Thus, for the last three weeks, most of my sober (and not so sober) moments have been reserved for writing up reviews on the city's top spots for craft beer. It's tough, thankless work, and I'm all too happy to do it. The app should drop in November, just in time for the holiday rush. You can follow the app's Twitter feed for news on New York drinking and my very swollen liver, or visit the website. 

When Beer Met Whiskey

Though the book tour has been utter madness, I've still been able to eke out a few minutes here and there to pen stories such as this doozy in the latest Imbibe. At its core, whiskey is basically unhopped beer (dubbed wash) that's been distilled, then aged in oak barrels. By and large, most distilleries don't give a darn about creating a flavorful wash. Instead, they're most concerned with creating the largest measure of fermentable liquids. But lately, distillers have been thinking a lot like brewers, creating imperial stouts that are distilled down, or even dosing white dog with Centennial hops. It's a tasty development, one that's blurring the lines between distilleries and breweries—some of which double as distilleries. Check out my story in the magazine this month. Any thoughts? I'm curious to hear what you think about this burgeoning new genre.

Edible Brooklyn: Hop Happy

Kelso's brewmaster, Kelly Taylor. Photo: Michael Harlan Turkell

In the latest issue of Edible Brooklyn, I got the chance to dig beneath the hood of Kelso of Brooklyn, one of New York's most unsung craft breweries. While beer makers such as Sixpoint and Brooklyn garner all the headlines, it's Kelso that has been making some of the city's most consistent, quaffable beers. Lord, I love me the crisp pilsner, and the IPA is one of my current top five favorite beers. Though you can't find Kelso outside the New York City region,  it's well worth seeking out should you pop into the Big Apple. You can read my full story over at Edible Brooklyn.