A Toast to Long Island


This post originally appeared on Craft Beer New York.

After a long, well-lubricated holiday weekend, the last thing I need is another beer in my belly. I should stick to water, with a cleansing salad thrown in for fun. But common sense has never been my strong suit. Tonight, I'll no doubt find myself with a beer in hand. After all, it's the charitable thing to do.

Today marks the release of Surge Protector IPA, which was brewed to benefit the food bank Long Island Cares and Barrier Brewing. Though the Oceanside brewery is now back up and running after getting socked by Sandy, the bill for repairs topped more than $100,000. To help defray the costs, Long Island's best brewers gathered at Blue Point in December to brew a collaborative beer.

Representatives from Greenport Harbor, Blue Point, Blind Bat, Long Ireland, Spider Bite, Port JeffGreat South Bay and Barrier all bandied about ideas for the brew, settling on an easy-drinking IPA that checks in at a quaffable 5 percent ABV. Each brewery donated ingredients for what became a 30-barrel batch of Surge Protector.

While most of the beer is earmarked for bars and bottle shops on Long Island, a small amount of Surge Protector will wash up in New York City. Look for the IPA at Brooklyn's 61 Local and Alewife Queens, as well as the Bronx Alehouse and the Hell's Kitchen location of Pony Bar.

Don't feel guilty for having a second, or even a third pint. After all, drinking is merely the charitable thing to do.

P.S. Check out this video detailing the process of brewing and bottling Surge Protector.

Forget America. Try These Foreign IPAs

If the American craft-beer movement flew a flag, it’d feature an image of a pint glass filled with frothy India pale ale. Though this bitter brew has its roots in Britain, the IPA has become a runaway American sensation. Brewers have gone gaga for hops, crafting increasingly bitter brews bursting with flavors of citrus, pine resin, tropical fruits, mango and more. For taste buds accustomed to watery canned lagers, American IPAs are like that first ray of sunlight following weeks of clouds and rain.

While the modern IPA is a distinctly brash American construct, the Stars and Stripes do not have a lockdown on the style. Inspired by these bold and bracing brews, European and New Zealand beersmiths have begun dabbling in supercharged IPAs. The result is proudly bitter beers as familiar as they are foreign. Here are 5 IPAs that tickle my taste buds.

Epic Beer Armageddon IPA Checking in at a devilish 6.66 percent ABV, this devilish New Zealand hop monster relies upon a quartet of American hops—grapefruit-y Cascade, super-citrusy Centennial, earthy and spicy Columbus, piney Simcoe—to drive its flavor profile.

ReAle Extra While Italy may be best known for its wine, in recent years the boot-shaped nation has had a serious craft-beer boom led by brewers every bit as rule-breaking as their American counterparts. In particular, I adore ReAle Extra, an Italian IPA with a serious bitter streak, luscious flavors of honey, gobs of grapefruit and a nicely peppery close.

Urthel Hop-It A trip to the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival compelled Hildegard van Ostaden, brewmaster at Ruiselede, Belgium’s Urthel, to create the Hop-It double IPA—the country’s first of its kind. Exclusively dosed with European noble hops, the golden brew presents an appealing spicy profile.

BraufactuM Indra A German IPA may seem like an oxymoron, but the land of lagers will soon unleash this novel spin on the American-style India pale ale. Though Indra is currently only available in Florida (pesky licensing issues!), keep your peepers peeled for the IPA this summer. The unfiltered, wheat-driven brew marries a hefeweizen’s cloves-and-bananas qualities with plenty of grassy, citric bitterness.

BrewDog Punk IPA When Scotland’s BrewDog set out to fashion its flagship IPA, brewmaster James Watt opted for a double-barreled blast of Nelson Sauvin and Ahtanum hops, which gives the golden ale an earthy, tropical perfume. The light body packs flavors of orange peel and pine resin, somewhat lightened by biscuit malt.

This story was originally published on Food Republic.

Lit Crawl Reading

Hey, fine readers. Saturday, September 10, marks the newest installment of Lit Crawl, which drags word lovers from venue to venue to hear authors read. At 6 p.m., I'll be heading to Jimmy's No. 43 to read a few words about beer, the art of gettin' drunk and the ensuing shenanigans. Come check it out and kick back an IPA or three with me. The full details are here.

A Crisis of Beer

Look, don't get me wrong: Come summer, I love my low-alcohol session beers like you wouldn't believe. Man, I  couldn't survive a beach afternoon without a sixer of Avery Joe's Premium American Pilsner. But sometimes when I'm sunning myself, I crave a beer with a bit more kick. For that, I turn to California's 21st Amendment, makers of the marvelous Hop Crisis oak-aged IPA. It's got all the bitterness I love so much, and it's paired with a lick of vanilla and oak. It's like a birthday present for my taste buds. Curious? Check out my full write-up at Food Republic. Drink it up!

Speakeasy Big Daddy I.P.A. - Beer of the Week

That bottle looks so...shifty!

A new year, a new beer. Lord, will anyone ever let me sober up? If there's ever a time to dry out, it's now. The past month has been a Roman orgy of excess, of too many late-night whiskeys, of thirds on cheesecake. How can I ever drink a beer again? Easy: Make it as delicious as this Speakeasy Big Daddy. This Bay Area–IPA is a sure-fired easy-drinker, with restrained bitterness and a smoothness that makes you want to sip it again and again. Curious? Thirsty? Drink it up!