It’s July Good Beer Month… Where To Drink

Proclamation2014_2For New Yorkers, it seems like every other day there’s some incredible beer release or cool gathering. The whole “too many beers, too little time” can seem overwhelming, but there are certain times of the year when being a part of the beer scene is like running a marathon.

July Good Beer Month is certainly one of those times. For 31 days every July, NYC celebrates as the Mayor’s office delivers the July Good Beer Month Proclamation (if you want the audio version, listen here at the 30 minute mark for Garrett Oliver’s oration… it’s brilliant!):

Office of the Mayor, City of New York – PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, July is Good Beer Month in New York City. And at barbecues and picnics and pubs and groggeries across the five Boroughs, our city’s residents and visitors are getting into the spirit and are beating the summer’s heat with cold beers. Even more refreshing is the fact that some of the best brews we have in the fridge and on tap are made right here in New York as our city’s craft beer scene continues to thrive.

WHEREAS, like any top quality product, good beer is the result of dedication of many people. Growing New York’s collegial, knowledgeable, independent beer community has required the passion and expertise of farmers, brewers, distributors, importers and devoted patrons alike. The community has also focused on keeping its industry sustainable and environmentally conscious. Brewers have formed partnerships with both city farms and local artisans, and foster the kind of conversations that keep their taverns and tasting rooms great places to share big ideas about what’s next in craft brewing.

The proclamation continues, acknowledging the Good Beer Seal bars (full disclosure, I blog for GBS). But what’s really cool is the Mayor’s support for five years and how craft beer has truly grown in the city. Here are a handful of the events you will want to check out this month. And feel free to tag me (@BKLYNbeerbitch) or the Good Beer Seal (@goodbeerseal) on Twitter for RTs; I want to know what you’re drinking and where you’re headed in July.

My favorites for the month include:

  • The Total Long Island City ImmersionSaturday, July 13th – Starting at noon, you can score a pass to get free beer samples from Brooklyn Brewery, among others, as you wind your way through LIC’s best pubs, patios and brunch spots.
  • The Parisian Ball on Governors Island – Saturday, July 13th – Starting at 4 p.m. and going until the wee hours of Bastille Day, you can be a kid again with vintage rides, music, libations and—one can muse—a central square for beheadings (no, not really; that was The Bitch’s attempt at a joke). This site offers slightly discounted tickets from the official website. It is 21+.
  • Mission Dolores Hosts Pioneers of American CraftWednesday, July 17th – MD does some counter programming from all the rare and unusual stuff going on tap across the city by putting the “Old Guard” beers of Anchor, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Brewery. Sure, they’re your father’s craft beers, but I’m probably old enough to date your dad so it works for The Bitch!
  • Duvel/Ommegang Belgian Independence Day Celebration at Sunswick 35/35Thursday, July 18th – If you don’t make it out to Governors Island for Bastille Day, this is the next best Euro-independence event I could find to slate your need to act all superior to us ‘Mericans. Added bonus for those not able to make it to BCTC in August.
  • July Good Beer Month Presents NY State Food & Beer Expo – Saturday, July 27th – Come to Williamsburg’s East River Park for a great lineup of beer from KelSo, Shmaltz/Coney Island, Sixpoint and Brooklyn Brewery, among many others. Entry is at 90 Kent, and GA tickets will be available day of. VIP will be on sale the week of 7/15 at Good Beer Seal.
  • Prix Fixe dinner featuring Jeff O’Neill of Peekskill BrewingTuesday, July 30th – Jimmy’s No. 43 will be hosting Jeff O’Neill for a beer pairing dinner. Here’s hoping Jeff brings his Simple Sour!
  • Edible’s Good Beer at 82 Mercer – Wednesday, July 31st – This is the premiere event that wraps up July Good Beer Month each year. Try to score a ticket now, because they typically sell out well in advance.

Patti Jackson Returns To Jimmy’s No. 43 For Dinner Paired With B. United Italian Brews

Patti Jackson (center) and her team at January's Iberian Beer & Spanish Tapas Dinner. You can read more about the dinner

Patti Jackson (center) and her team at January’s Iberian Beer & Spanish Tapas Dinner. You can read more about the dinner here.

Jimmy’s No. 43 is thrilled to have guest chef Patti Jackson (f/o iTrulli) returning next Monday (March 11th) for our Italian Craft Beer Vegetarian Nonsense™ Dinner with beer pairings curated by B. United. The menu was just announced, and this looks to be our best vegetarian prix fixe dinner to date. Tickets are still available, and here’s what you’ll be feasting (and drinking) over five courses:

  • Erbazzone—Traditional Swiss Chard, Egg and Cheese Pie from Emilia Romagna paired with Del Ducato Via Emilia (wet-hopped lager) from Parma, Emilia Romagna.
  • Cavolo Nero e Fagioli—Braised Black Kale and Beans on Bruschetta paired with L’Olmaia PVK (spicy, light, an Italian “wit”) from Montepulciano, Siena, Tuscany.
  • Gnocchi alla Romana—Baked Semolina Gnocchi with Cippolata paired with Del Borgo ReAle Extra (IPA using only late-addition hops) from Rieti, Lazio.
  • Agnolotti—Squash and Taleggio Filled Pasta with Sage and Hazelnuts paired with Loverbeer D’Uvabeer (sour beer made with grape or fig must) from Marentino, TO, Piemonte.
  • Capunet—Piemontese-style Stuffed Cabbage with Riso, Mushrooms, Leeks and Toasted Grain paired with Grado Plato Strada san Felice (strong Chestnut lager) from Chieri, TO, Piemonte.

Tickets are also on sale for our Spanish Cider Sidra Seder dinner for Passover (March 25th, tickets here) and for next month’s Magic Potions Dinner with Stillwater Ale’s Brian Strumke (April 8th, tickets here). Our Monday night dinners are a great chance to mix and mingle with some beer stars and enjoy some amazing food at Jimmy’s No. 43

Meet Rich Buceta of Singlecut Beersmiths

Singlcut Beersmiths' Head Brewer Rich Buceta. Photo courtesy of First We Feast.

Singlcut Beersmiths’ Head Brewer Rich Buceta. Photo courtesy of First We Feast.

Queens is quickly becoming home to some amazing new breweries. Among the more prominent is Astoria’s Singlecut Beersmiths. I recently had the chance to interview head brewer, Rich Buceta, about the Nano-brew Dinner at Jimmy’s No. 43, part of NYC Beer Week. Singlecut is a micro-brewer, but that’s okay. We’ll take our beer from a multi-barrel system, too!

Singlecut Beersmiths has only been open a few months and already boasts of an impressive line-up of beers, including its Raw Mahogany Ale, which was paired with a Roasted Carrot and Aged Cow’s Milk Cheese on Toasts at the five-course dinner.

Head Brewer and President Rich Buceta updated us on the state of his microbrewery, adding music to the brewery, and his love of craft beer.

What was the first beer you ever drank and the circumstances?

Knickerbocker Lager, my dad’s beer. It was brewed in NYC, and he’d give me a can after cutting the grass (this was in 7th grade mind you!). It was the most delicious thing I’d ever had, and it made me feel funny!

When did you realize that your “homebrew” was ready for primetime (i.e. consumer worthy)?

After consistently winning awards with the beer I’d been making.

Cans, bottles or keg-only? Explain your answer.

Kegs. We will get into cans soon, but for now, we’re in enough debt!

What is your desert island beer (i.e. if you could only drink one beer—or one brewer’s selection—for the rest of your life, what would it be and why)?

Alchemist Heady Topper! So original and superb.

How do craft beer brewers compete with “pseudo-craft,” i.e. special label beers being put out by factory-based commercial brewers (Anheuser-Busch and their ilk)?

No comparison, and the consumer’s taste buds will tell the truth.

What’s your biggest challenge as a micro-brewer?

Fortunately for us, it’s keeping up with demand.

Tell us about the beer you’re bringing (Raw Mahogany) to the dinner and how it will pair with our Roasted Beet, Shaved Pecorino Salad.
It’s walks the line between Pale Ale, IPA, Amber Ale and Red Ale in a way that isn’t on the market. We’re very proud of this beer.

What else do you want us to know about Singlecut Beersmiths?

Meet Rockaway Brewing Company’s Marcus and Ethan

Co-owners (and brewers) Marcus Burnett and Ethan Long during happier times in Rockaway - i.e. pre-Sandy.

Co-owners (and brewers) Marcus Burnett and Ethan Long during happier times in Rockaway – i.e. pre-Sandy.

If you are interested in local brewers, then you have double the love next week with Rockaway Brewing Company. On Monday, brewer and co-owner Marcus Burnett will be in the house for our Nano-beer Vegetarian Nonsense™ Dinner (only a few tickets remain, so get yours here). Then on Wednesday we’ll have a special Rockaway Brewing night with the launch of their new beer, Hi-Plains Drifter Scottish Ale!

Marcus was nice enough to check in by phone this week to preview NYC Beer Week and what he’ll be bringing to Monday’s beer dinner (hit: it’s hoppy, and you can’t find it anywhere else!).

What was the first beer you ever drank and the circumstances?

The first beer I really enjoyed as and English Bitter Ale I tried in Surrey, England, when I was staying with my uncle when I was 14. It was the classic English countryside with sheep farms and rolling hills.

When did you realize that your “homebrew” was ready for primetime (i.e. consumer worthy)?

When Ethan (Long, co-owner) and I realized we’d rather drink our own beers rather than any other beer, that’s when we decided to open a brewery. The first eight months we only brewed that one beer, our ESB. Now we officially have three beers—ESB, Porter, Stout—with two more premiering at Jimmy’s No. 43 next week (Scottish Ale and IPA).

How did you and Ethan decide to launch a brewery together?

We had similar professions, so we knew each other. I was doing cinematography/photography while Ethan was a set designer. We also had bungalows nearby each other out on Far Rockaway. [Editor’s Note: Neither brewer’s home was destroyed during Sandy.] We started brewing together and, eventually, opening the brewery together.

Cans, bottles or keg-only? Explain your answer.

We only do kegs. I don’t have the patience to do individual bottles, and we don’t have the money to get a canning or bottling line. Besides, I enjoy beer on draft more than from a bottle.

What is your desert island beer (i.e. if you could only drink one beer—or one brewer’s selection—for the rest of your life, what would it be and why)?

If I had four taps of Founder’s, I’d probably be okay for awhile. They’re making really solid and palatable beers.

What’s your biggest challenge as a nano-brewer?

Our biggest challenge is expanding at the right pace, keeping up production with demand. Sometimes we have plenty of beer on hand; sometimes we don’t have any. We’re pretty much at capacity now, so we need to consider what we do next. Also, we want to come up with enough styles to satisfy our clients. Lots of craft beer bars always want the next new thing. That’s something we love about Jimmy’s No. 43. It’s more about consistent quality than just having something new to offer.

What else do you want us to know about Rockaway Brewing Company?

Our company really represents the hope for the American Dream. As homebrewers, we really didn’t have any money. Everybody said, “You can’t do a brewery with a two-barrel system.” I thought, “You can’t tell me what to do.” In some ways, of course, they were right, but we’re not trying to be something we’re not. We love what we do and the beer we’re making at our current rate of production.