Last night I had the great pleasure to welcome a new brewer to New York City, when Broken Bow Brewery came to town with three of its kegs. The family-owned brewery opened to the public in Tuckahoe, NY, less than a month ago after a nearly year long construction process. Among the beers they debuted at Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village were:
- Marbledale American Pale Ale,
- Broken Heart Stout,
- and Broken Auger Lager
Head brewmaster, Mike LaMothe, was there to talk about the beers along with his wife, Betsy, and his sister, Kasey, who is Broken Bow Brewery’s Head of Microbiology & Quality Control. The LaMothes have created a series of beers that are meant to be conversation starters, in that they are very sessionable, meaning you can throw back a few and still speak without slurring your words (the menu said the beers were low-to-mid 5%+ ABV, but the stout in particular felt less than 5%).
Now, I make it a point not to judge a beer. To my mind, craft beers made with love and sweat generally are all good. Many of them are great. I would never want my opinion to a beer’s taste to reflect badly on a brewer’s efforts. That said, I thought the Stout was really nice; a nitro pour that was creamy and just perfect for our crappy 94-degree weather. As the rain began (and the temperature finally cracked), I switched to the APA, which was a bit hoppy for my taste (it seemed more like a session IPA). I switched to Barrier at that point, but as the food I had paired with it was not a good match, I sent it back and went for the Lager.
Mike says the Lager is their most popular beer. I can see why. It’s very flavorful (and, yes, by that point it was my third beer, but I still wasn’t slurring, just becoming more chatty, so I think my beer senses were not yet comfortably numb) and not too pure. Mike told me that the brewery isn’t set up for lagers, and I joked to him, “What do you do? Surround the fermenter in charcoal?” By that point, I was buzzy and the jokes started to fly. As Mike and Betsy are expecting their first child in a few months, I regaled them with stories of raising kids. I also was very excited to talk to Kasey, who is not just a woman in beer but a female scientist in beer. Somehow or another we got to talking about “brewing with her yeast,” which led Betsy to suggest a T-shirt for women brewers that would read: Try My Yeast!
Ultimately what made the night great was the beer. For team LaMothe, it’s all about family. And they made me feel like one of their own, and I was happy talking to them for the better part of an hour drinking their new brews. I can’t wait to make the trip up on MetroNorth to visit them on their own turf. New York City beer peeps should definitely seek them out if they find any of their beer on tap locally.
And if you head up to the brewery, please find out how Mike is making his lager in a cold fermenter. I never got past the charcoal joke! The Bitch wants to know.
Updated 9/14: Mike just e-mailed me saying they just heat up the bright tanks to make the lager, but he wishes he’d considered charcoal before spending all that money! It would be an interesting experiment, but probably wouldn’t improve on the BBB (hey, look we have the same initials!) Broken Auger.