Hello and welcome to our shiny new blog! It’s a place for me to rant and rave about how good The Beer Studio is and various other bits and pieces going on in the world of craft beer. For my first post, I want to spread the good word of Brooklyn Brewery, one of New York’s FINEST craft brewers! Now you’ve probably heard of Brooklyn already. Their expansion into the UK market has been flawless. Hit up most trendy bars in the Northern Quarter and you’ll be able to get a pint of their signature lager, visit your local TESCO and you’ll be able to buy cans and bottles of various beers in the range, look online and you’ll be able to buy just about everything they do, from their web store. They are now just about everywhere and the way they’ve done it is brilliant, but that’s for another blog post.
Today we’re talking about the Tap Takeover that took place at The Beer Studio on the first Tuesday of this year’s rather hectic Fresher’s Week. Chris and Jamie from House of Beers (Carlsberg’s Craft Faithful Team so to speak) came down with a hell of a load of branding and a hell a load of beer and threw one mother of a party!! I love events like these, because they give people the chance to try something new, without shelling out for it. It’s sometimes hard to push craft beer, when you tell people the price of a pint (again, another blog post there…), but when you’re giving away free samples of cracking stuff such as the Brooklyn beers, your job gets a lot easier! For our takeover, we had Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Summer Ale and Brooklyn Scorcher IPA on tap. The first two are more well known and you’ll see them around the City Centre. The Scorcher IPA on the other hand, was a bit of a treat. It’s something I haven’t had on tap before and now that I have, I am a devotee! It’s a beer in the style of an IPA when it comes to the hoppiness and massive flavours going on, but it’s also a session beer thanks to its 4.5% ABV and it’s drinkability. Couple of pints of this in a sunny beer garden and you’re laughing. I loved it so much I made it BEER OF THE WEEK (as featured on our homepage). We’ve got a barrel of it left at the time of writing and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So head down if you want to try it out.
The House of Beers boys also bought along some of Brooklyn’s bottles for our enjoyment. East IPA has long been a favourite of mine, so the chance to get my hands on a couple of bottles for nada was definitely classed as a ‘perk of the job’. It’s a true hard-hitting 6.9% IPA, but unlike some it doesn’t overpower you with flavour and richness. It’s really drinkable and well balanced. Brooklyn themselves actually say ‘we’re not here to blow you away with a lupulin cannon’ and they stand by that with this beer. If you’re fancy, or a craft beer addict like me, you’ll find this in placed like Beermoth in the City Centre, or your local Waitrose. I would DEFINITELY recommend it if you’re a fan of Brooklyn’s original lager and want to try something else in the range.
Now I’m well aware that so far I sound like I’m being paid by Brookyln to push their beer, I can assure you I am not. With these blogs you’ll always get brutal honesty, even with beers we sell in The Beer Studio. Brooklyn have long been one of my favourite craft brewers and when you make beer as good as they do, it’s hard to fault them. Bare that in mind as I move on to the last bottle they brought with them. Brooklyn Bel Air Sour. A very limited edition bottle (we had one of the last cases in circulation in the UK at the moment) and a very very special beer! Sour beers had a massive surge on the craft scene last year and pretty much every brewer caught onto the trend, bringing out something or other with a load of fruit and a load of well… sour flavours. To tell you the truth, I was never really a massive fan at the time and even now, I don’t really do sour or lambic beers that much. Bacchus Framboise, a Raspberry fruit beer with a sour tendancy is about as far as I go. But this my friends, is different. All of the staff that I gave a bottle to on the night were in agreement too. It’s a very special beer. It’s not overly sour. It’s packed with fruity flavours, but not so much so that it kills your palate and numbs your mouth in the way that some sours do (for me anyway). You get a great grapefruit flavour, with a hint of tang. You get a freshness in every sip. You just get a general ‘WOW, now that is different, but I effin love it’ feeling from drinking it. I’m yet to give someone a sample and for them to tell me they hate it. I, as you can imagine drink a lot of craft beer and it’s been a while since I’ve been seriously impressed with a beer, but Brooklyn Bel Air Sour… I love you. Please marry me and have little sour babies with me. Luckily for you guys, Brooklyn know how popular this little seasonal has been and our bringing it out in full force, in bottles, cans and on draught next year, so you should see it hitting bars around Manchester at some point in 2018!
Just before I move away from the actual beers, I want to give you one last recommendation. Sorachi Ace! One of my favourite beers EVER. It uses a rare hop in an incredible way and just creates an amazing beer. If Chris and Jamie had brought some of that with him, I may have bitten his arm off for a freebie. I won’t bang on about it too much now, but do some research and you’ll find it! I had the pleasure of trying it on tap a couple of years ago and it was INSANELY GOOD.
Moving on… I’ve worked on a few of these Tap Takeover events in various places over the years and I have to say, House of Beers pulled out all the stops. They brought branded barrels, banners, signs, a big spinny prize wheel and even an outdoor game (Cornhole is ADDICTIVE!). They also hosted a cheeky little beer and food pairing session, pairing up burgers, hot dogs and chicken wings with their signature brews. Sometimes you book one of these things in and you just get a load of beers on tap, or you get a guy in a branded T-Shirt with a roller banner in a corner of the pub. Not this time baby! It’s clear to see that the guys running these events and pushing Brooklyn (and other great brands) in the UK actually care about good beer and really bloody enjoy their job. Chris and Jamie are HELLA enthusiastic. They knows their stuff and they genuinely enjoys the products they’re pushing.
If you missed this one, you missed a great night! We’ve always got Brooklyn Lager on and we’ve still got a barrel of each of the specials (Summer Ale and Scorcher IPA) on at the moment, so it’s not too late to try something new from New York’s finest. We’re hopefully going to get our hands on some more bottles and possibly some Bel Air Sour next year too, so check our social media channels out for news on that. We’re also planning similar events with different breweries throughout this academic year (there are whispers of a Meantime Takeover next…), so have a look out for info on those too! Free beers that you might never have had before. Always a winner!
Right, I think that’s enough excited words about Brooklyn for one day. Until next time beer fans…
Hydes Brewery ‘Beer Champion’ for BSBK. (Yup, that’s a real title!)