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Brooklyn Brewery Finishes Huge Expansion

Brooklyn Brewery Finishes Huge Expansion

Now the brewery can produce up to 100,000 barrels of beer

Fans of Brooklyn Brewery, whether in New York or elsewhere, will be happy to know that the brewery is about to wrap up the third and final phase of its expansion.

The Village Voice and The New York Times report that the brewery added nine extra fermenters, made just for its specialty beer lineup: 750-millileter beers and its draught-only beers. And that means beer will be brewing a full 24 hours per day, upping the brewery's game from a mere 12,000 barrels to 100,000 barrels.

The brewery also recently purchased a warehouse in Utica, N.Y., where most of its popular beers (like the Brooklyn Lager) are brewed.

The founders of Brooklyn Brewery told the NYT all about their start in Williamsburg, a neighborhood where they once use to get jumped (and have forklifts get stolen). "In early 1996, Williamsburg was still a sketchy, industrial area... It was stark. You’d open the doors for an event, and no one would come in," said general manager Eric Ottaway to the NYT. Now, we know (from personal experience) that the brewery hardly has trouble getting people in the door.

The Slow Rise and Fast Fall of NYC’s Most Anticipated Craft Brewery

Saturdays in New York City’s thriving craft beer scene are like a weekly Christmas morning. In pursuit of the latest can releases, enthusiasts often engage in something akin to a brewery crawl. It starts in the morning near Brooklyn’s western edge, home to Other Half, and finishes in the afternoon in the northern neighborhoods of the borough, where Grimm, Interboro, and KCBC are headquartered.

On Harrison Place, almost at the midpoint on the walk or rideshare between Interboro and KCBC, lies a conspicuously dormant space. It formerly belonged to Braven Brewing.

Like many others, Braven was part of the Gotham craft beer explosion that transformed New York from a craft beer backwater with three local production breweries in 2012, to a goldmine with more than 30 now. That number doubles when you factor in the extraordinary brewing going on in surrounding areas in Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and northern New Jersey.

Every Beer Lover Needs This Hop Aroma Poster

Most of these breweries followed the conventional narrative of craft beer. Young enthusiasts bonded at a local homebrewing guild. They honed their brewing skills and began dreaming of abandoning their day jobs for full-time work in the world of malt and hops. After years of business plans and fundraising endeavors, the dream progresses to reality. Facilities open, and photos of smiling young (mostly) men next to fermentation tanks begin to proliferate on social media. The music swells in triumphant harmonies as the new brewers toast in the sunset while profits pile up in their bank accounts.

In 2013, Eric Feldman and Marshall Thompson were young beer enthusiasts who began dreaming big. In the following six years, they started a brand, Braven, brewed beer under the Braven label via a contract with Saratoga Brewing, then, in 2018, they opened a brewery and taproom in northern Brooklyn.

Yet, just six months later, in March 2019, the taproom shuttered and Thompson has left New York. They sold the rights to their brand to Newport Craft and the pair are looking for a buyer for their lease.

This is not how the story is supposed to go. What went wrong? How do you go bust in the middle of a boom? The answers say a lot about how the beer scene has changed in a short period of time.

“I think it was a bit of a perfect storm,” says Chris O’Leary of BrewYork New York, an 11-year-old blog that chronicles the local craft beer scene. “They had issues with their contract brewer going out of business with virtually no warning last winter, plus a high rent [$11,330 a month] for a space that was mostly used for beer production.” Frequent L train shutdowns and nearby competition were also significant drawbacks, he says.

The nearby competition was one of several aspects that Braven’s owners didn’t accurately forecast as they plotted their brewery. As they told VinePair in 2016, they thought that they would have the area to themselves. Instead, Interboro opened in late 2016, when that part of Bushwick was now called East Williamsburg. Then, KCBC opened in 2017, and Grimm opened just north of Interboro in 2018.

All three of these breweries focused on weekly releases of 16-ounce cans, which revealed another flaw in Braven’s plan. A key component of Thompson and Feldman’s research and development occurred on a trip to Colorado in 2013, back during New York’s backwater days. They planned on producing beers in 6-packs, the industry norm then and for decades prior. Their aesthetic? A seemingly cutting-edge, post-millennial spin on Milton Glaser’s iconic Brooklyn Brewery labels.

In November 2014, however, Gov. Cuomo signed the Craft New York Act, and selling beers at breweries became legal. Within months, the Christmas-Day-every-Saturday phenomenon became a thing, with lines outside of Other Half resembling college football tailgated. Suddenly, Braven’s 6-packs looked archaic next to the idiosyncratic art of, say, Grimm’s Lambo Door or KCBC’s This is Your Brain on Hops.

Zack Kinney, a co-founder of KCBC, said “can label art is really important, especially with the market becoming more and more crowded. We constantly hear from people saying they first tried our beer because the can labels looked so cool. On that front, we lucked out in that our label artist, Earl Holloway, is a long-time friend of Pete (Lengyel, KCBC Co-founder), so we were all aware of his work. He has this super-cool comic book aesthetic that we feel sets our labels apart — it’s fun, funky, retro, and a bit edgy, and seems particularly appropriate given our brewery is located in Bushwick where the street-art scene is really happening.”

Kinney also said that weekly releases were essential, “given the general obsession in craft beer for ‘whatever is new,’ the weekly can releases seem pretty mandatory these days.” He continued: “We brew a ton of variety (like a lot of other breweries), and we usually sell the vast majority of each batch the week that the beer comes out. It’s a key part of our planning and production.”

Another issue was style. “It’s very hard to lead with a pilsner,” says Josh Bernstein, author of the recent “The Complete Beer Course” (Sterling Epicure) and the forthcoming “Drink Better Beer: Discover the Secrets of Brewing Experts” (Sterling Epicure).

In the double-dry-hopped climate of the craft beer community, he says, it can seem like 90 percent of new beers are India Pale Ales.

By the time Braven opened its facility in September 2018, the founders were aware they were playing catch up. They issued a steady stream of cans into the craft beer marketplace, including two New England IPAs, Moon Froot and Flashy Ways, and Skrrt!, a double IPA. On Feb. 2, 2019, they did their first brewery-only release of three cans. The brewery was active during New York Craft Beer Week, Feb. 23 to March 3 then on March 4, Bushwick Daily reported the brewery’s closing.

The community was floored. Some industry insiders cited Thompson’s move to upstate New York early this year as a warning sign. Others noted that the Harrison Place’s brewing capacity simply wasn’t enough to support profitability. One local brewer who preferred anonymity was considerably harsher, citing a lack of ambition.

VinePair reached out to Thompson and Feldman for comment on this story. Although initially receptive, both failed to respond to repeated inquiries over three weeks. The sale to Newport was announced on social media on April 19. The Harrison Place space is still listed as available.

O’Leary was philosophical about the situation. “It’s kind of amazing that it took this long for a brewery or brewpub in New York City to close in such a short amount of time,” he says. “One in three restaurants fail in their first year. It’s surprising that a brewery — which requires a lot more space and outlay for equipment — hadn’t experienced a failure in that timespan before even in this wave of brewery expansion in the city.”

Pilsner Brooklyn Brewery

Protips: Explain why you're giving this rating. Your review must discuss the beer's attributes (look, smell, taste, feel) and your overall impression in order to indicate that you have legitimately tried the beer. Nonconstructive reviews may be removed without notice and action may be taken on your account.

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3.64 /5 rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

BB date of 12/21 or is it 2/12/21? (guessing - a little smudged)

Translucent medium gold, with one finger of white head.

Smell is a lightly sweet floral scent (goldenrod/bedstraw) , slight herbal aroma (marjoram?) , and light crackery malt.

Taste is light bread crust (fresh-out-of-the-oven white bread) , some of that sweet floral element ^, finishing with a light spicy/bitter herbal flavor. Moderate lingering bitterness.

Feel is light, but not watery , with moderate, very fine, sharp carbonation bite.

Overall, nothing "Wow!" , but it isn't meant to be. If you're in the mood for a clean, crisp lager, it's worth a try. I could use a little less of that herbal flavor, but that's nitpicking. On another occasion, I might welcome that. ) *shrug* - try it yourself. :)

3.4 /5 rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle pours a clear yellow color with a good fizzy white head that sticks around. Light grassy and flowery aromas. Light flavor of cracker and grains. Pretty good.

3.54 /5 rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On draft in pint glass. Pale, see through color. Crisp with light hops. Good pilsner. Easy drinker with slightly bitter follow. Would get again but wouldn’t take home.

3.97 /5 rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle. Straw in color with a good sized white head and pretty good lacing. Smells of grain and floral. Smells like what you expect from a pilsner which is good. Flavor is also what is expected in a good pilsner. Not too light bodied, just a really good example of a pilsner.

4.56 /5 rDev +24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: clear, pale, lively with a finger head and moderate lace
S: fruity/floral on front end with sweet roastiness back end that balances out extreme well
T: follows smell but with an added lively carbonation that tingles the tongue
F: crisp, clean, refreshing balanced does not overpower any taste buds but pulls them all together for superb finish
O: a great balanced beer with a liveliness that invites another one

2.41 /5 rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

From a 12oz bottle dated BB 11/19. Pours lively and decent gold/ amber color. Body is extremely light, and virtually no flavor up front. Decent dry finish with some malt/cracker taste. Noticed this is brewed in Utica NY. That’s quite a distance from Brooklyn NYC. Also was the only “craft” beer on 3 shelves of otherwise InBev exclusive. I’m a bit concerned. Sorachi Ace, their amazing Saison, brewed in Brooklyn is one of my all time favorites.

3.82 /5 rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

It looks like your typical pilsner in the pilsner glass. The carbonation is full on with soft white fluffy head. The aroma is some cooked broccoli & boiled cob corn. The taste is white bread, grains, cooked broccoli, slight cracker, there is some mild bitterness on the backend. Brooklyn Brewery pilsner is tasty but there lager could use some tweaks here & there. Cheers! B

3.99 /5 rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear golden color with streaming bubbles. Two plus fingers of a nice thick soapy white head. Nice slicks of lacing on my glass.

Very clean malts, barley water smell. A faint hint of some floral hops coming out.

Taste is very light with a bit of a hint of grassiness. the hops do come through way in the back and provide a very nice balance to the malts.

Mouth feel is very light and finishes crisply with just enough refreshing wetness to wet the old whistle.

Damn fine pilsner!This beer would be so easy to crush several in a row. Pairing with food would be so easy, eat food drink beer. If I could find this in a 15 pack here in Las Vegas during the summer I know what I would be buying. It drinks almost like a light beer but with flavor that approaches a more full bodied beer.

3.5 /5 rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear, pale yellow body topped with a thick, fluffy, sticky head. The scent is a little malty, a little grassy. Mild light malt flavor with a more powerful yet balanced hop bitterness. Medium body crisp with a slight warmth.

A decent pilsner, nothing overly phenomenal or bad, but rather a solid offering for casual drinking.

3.83 /5 rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) brown bottle into a conical pint glass best by 2019.
A: Pours a crystal clear, golden color, a half inch, foamy white head, big bubbles at times but solid retention, and rings and rings of complex, Brussels lacing.
S: Aromas of grasses and grains. ?Honeydew melon note.
T: Semidry. Follows the nose. Definite honeydew melon note. Light bitterness.
M: Light bodied with solid effervescence. Refreshing.
O: Not a big Pilsner drinker, but this is a solidly constructed and executed version of the style.

4.08 /5 rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Best By Nov 2018
12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

This one pours bright gold and crystal clear with a two finger white foam head that is fairly thick and has good retention. Lacing is spotty but there.

The nose is a little weak, grainy with corn and some grassy hops underneath. A nice aroma but I wish it was stronger. Tasting malty, clean and mostly dry, the grassy hop flavor is moderately bitter. Cracker and corn (not heavy) come through before a short clean finish with only a small, slightly bitter aftertaste. Body wise we are at medium-light, carbonation is low-medium, I think it could be a touch more crisp. There isn't much but it has some gritty chewiness to it.

Drinkable and fairly refined. This is no slouch.

3.38 /5 rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A clean slight citrus pilsner. Pilsner finish but just slight. Refreshing.

Taste rating in words: A cold spray of the shower first thing in the morning.

2.26 /5 rDev -38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Ok, I'm doing this one from memory, but here goes:

Brooklyn Pilsner is a quality product made from good ingredients, but my experience was that the bitterness was out of control. Years ago I bought a sixpack of this because I liked the regular Brooklyn Lager, which I would drink sometimes if I couldn't find Yuengling Traditional or Sam Adams on tap. There is no question I am an Amber Lager guy most of the time, so I thought their flagship was a good quality product that was just a bit too bitter and hoppy for my taste (drinkable, even enjoyable, but not optimal). Since Pilsners are supposed to be lighter, and often turn out to be more delicate overall than Amber lagers, I thought that Brooklyn's Pils might turn out to be the best product in their lineup for me specifically I was wrong. Their Amber Lager was more bitter than optimal for me. But their Pils turned out to be undrinkable. The details:

The appearance was entincing. A large stable head that looked like I could float the cap on it, and a dark gold color that (to me at least) promised good things)

The smell was pleasant too. Clean sligthtly sweet malts and strong, assertive, slightly floral hops.

The taste was impossible though. the malts were again, clean, and slightly sweet, but like I said in the intro, this beer was impossibly bitter. As in this is the only beer I can ever remember trying where I had to pour it out because it was too bitter for me to finish. Thinking maybe this was an acquired taste, or maybe I was just a wimp, I let my 6pack sit in the fridge for another day or so then tried again. Same result. I had to pour my bottle out. It was literally undrinkable for me. But I hate wasting beer. So I decided I'd cook with it. I used 2 more bottles to boil a dungeness crab. The cooked crab was also too bitter to eat! I shit you not. I've never experienced anything like that before or since. I've cooked with beer for years, everything from MGD, to Bass, to Guiness and never has any other beer I've cooked with imparted any noticeable bitterness to the finished product. But Brooklyn Pilsner did somehow. I had to toss the crab. Still waste not, want not. I tried to pawn the last 2 bottles off on my unsuspecting mother who typically drinks manlier beer than I do and has a better tolerance for bitterness (she loves black coffee with no sugar I can barely drink coffee at all even drowned in milk and sugar). Same result, She couldn't finish a bottle either, and I had to throw the last bottle away.

Feel: Nothing wrong with the mouthfeel. If this beer wasn't impossibly bitter, it would be a great session beer. But given that it was impossibly bitter and the taste lingered, drinkability was not good either.

Overall, if they used the exact same recipe but didn't go absolutely insane dry-hopping the stuff (I'm assuming that is how the produced the impossible-to-drink bitterness that I recall from my sole sixpack of Brooklyn Pils, their website lists 2 varities of very good pilsner hops used for this beer, and then mentions that they dry-hop which is not, to my knowledge, particularly common for this style of beer), I'm pretty sure this would have met my general expectations and been one of the 3 best pilsners I'd ever tried (the 2 outstanding ones I've had to date are Czechvar and Urquell), but instead, what I got was something too bitter to drink. Still maybe I am a wimp. Or maybe I got a bad batch. If you see this individual bottles or on tap it may be worth a try. But my experience with it was definitely not good.

4.01 /5 rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look - poured from a 12 oz bottle. Lemon yellow in color, large head that dissipates quickly with virtually no lacing left behind.
Smell - malts, some light hops. None of the skunkiness or unpleasant odors from adjuncts, which in itself is a huge plus.
Taste - as advertised, crisp and simple, malt forward taste and very clean finish. Flavor is light, but everything is there.
Feel - light bodied, medium-high carbonation, and standard ABV at 5.1%.
Overall - good pilsners really don't get much better than this. The style is simple, but a good one really comes around once every blue moon (no pun intended). I can drink this one all day long.

4.29 /5 rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to see this Pilsner now in a 12 oz. can. Thanks to Brooklyn Brewery, this is an excellent Pilsner amongst a sea of IPAs on store shelves. Light bodied but plenty of hop taste. I think it's preferable to their more widely distributed (at least in my area) Lager. I enjoy IPAs but also the alternative of a well-done historic style such as this product.

4.39 /5 rDev +19.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled Brooklyn pilsner was poured from a bottle into a pint glass, mid-June of 2018. This beer has a slight attractive aroma. The head is not very long lasting there is minimal lacing. The body is a healthy light gold. Now for the good part. The flavor is a memorable hop-forward experience. The mild malt and european hop character are well integrated. The bitterness lingers pleasantly after swallowing. This might be my favorite Pilsner style beer in the New York City metro area. Update June of 2019: I have beer regularly drinking this since discovering it. I would rank it with (probably above) the modern Pilsner Urquell.

Foyle from North Carolina

3.63 /5 rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pilsner glass. Pours a 1" white head that drops rapidly with very little lacing. Color light golden with moderate streaming carbonation. Aroma of floral and herbal hops and lightly toasted malt. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Flavor is led by the hops and seems a little weak in balancing malt sweetness from start to finish. Overall it is very good but not outstanding.

3.75 /5 rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-A very clear golden golden color with a nice head and lacing
A-Aroma has hop and grainy hints
T-Taste follows the nose with hop and grainy flavors
M-A light bodied well carbonated beer
O-A decent pilsner

3.35 /5 rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

From a 12 oz. bottle in a winter seasonal variety pack
Served chilled in a weizen glass

Appearance: Unfiltered hazy pale gold color with obvious floaties, three-fingers of long-lasting frothy cream-colored head, decent lacing
Aroma: Light nose, but mostly malts
Taste/Flavor: Very nice mellow flavor, quite more than expected from the nose. Well-balanced. No strange after-taste, seemingly unusual for this style
Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body, moderate carbonation, mostly smooth crisp finish, very nice on the palate
Overall: This is a superior pilsner. For those who care about such things, it contains no adjuncts such as rice or corn, neither does it contain any stabilizers or preservatives. I wonder if perhaps this is why I found it preferable to most pilseners made with adjuncts and preservatives??

3.9 /5 rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A bright gold beer, quite translucent, with tiny white bubbles on the head. Aroma is strong with the breads malt and tang of hops. “Pilsner” flavor is prominent, with the malt and hops well-defined and balanced. You can easily tell this is a Pilsner, and not a beer which is labeled as a Pilsner but tastes like a light lager. This beer is much more in the style of Germany’s Pilsners, which is why I’m giving it such high praise. This will be my new stateside widely-available Pilsner. Great stuff.

3.72 /5 rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Looks a 3 on the SRM color index. Smells like mild doughy fruitbread Taste is super crisp and clean,as a Pilsner should. Not overly carbonated.Almost perfect malt balance finish. A really good representation.

3.58 /5 rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass. Best by March 2018, so I'm going to guess 3 months old?

crystal clear pale golden yellow body. small white head leaving a little lacing.

faintly barnyard/floral aroma

a little bitter on tasting, faintly grainy.

close to medium on the mouth, slightly sour and bitter on the finish.

overall, just a little off to this palate. not clean or crisp.

3.74 /5 rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

6 pack of bottles purchased at Wegmans. Poured into pint glass
Appearance- golden, 1/4" head disolves quick but nice lacing of glass
Smell- slightly hoppy but not unless you are really making an effort to inhale. Wish i didn't have to work so hard to smell it.
Taste- slight spicyness and very slight bite. Pleasant balance but nothing noteworthy
Mouthfeel- crisp throughout
Overall- would certainly get it again for an easy drinking beer if i was going to drink throuhgout a game or while eating a big meal of german food

4.14 /5 rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Smell is sweet malt and herbal hops. Taste is crisp and clean: flowers, grass, crackers, bit of salt, slightly peppery finish. Good amount of hops, pleasantly bitter aftertaste.

1/2 Ale - Session Saison Brooklyn Brewery

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Notes: Brooklyn Brewery 1/2 Ale hearks back to traditional farmhouse ales, which used to quench the thirst of farmhands and other laborers on hot sunny days. These saisons were complex yet clean, low in alcohol and high in refreshment.

Brooklyn Half Ale is an unfiltered, clean, and balanced saison, with a hazy, pale yellow pour. It packs a symphony of citrusy hops over a gentle malt base that clocks in at a pleasantly restrained 3.4% ABV.

3.27 /5 rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

355 ml bottle, from SPAR Hana. ABV is 3.4%. Pale straw colour, hazy. Low white head. Strong aroma of grassy hops, dill, lemongrass and lemon peel. Light bodied as expected. Fairly dry and crisp flavour, with the same elements as in the aroma. Moderate hops in the finish, bitter aftertaste.

3.93 /5 rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy cloudy lemon yellow coloured body with splatterings of white head
Spritely citrus & peach aroma with yeast notes
There’s that fruit in the flavour
and it’s fuller than the abv
This would slate any summer thirst

2.92 /5 rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Ok looking bottle (very American) , pours Ok, very sedimenty almost weis beer looking. Citrus /fruity smell.. had to read the ingrdients to get orange..( I got mango out of it) . definitly to be drunk cold. Good thirst quencher but it left a short bitter taste once it fell of the tounge.

3.29 /5 rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at blend.
Lemony aroma and taste, but not complete lemon.
Slight hops in the taste, but not an IPA. No strong esters, yeasts, so not really a saison.
Feel is light and crisp unlike most saison.

Not sure what this is, but it is not bad.
Nice football beer.

3.82 /5 rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served cold from 355ml bottle.

L) Pale yellow, cloudy, a few small bubbles, thin film.

S) Light fruit cocktail, maybe pineapple and orange. No funky like a typical saison.

T) Very light, pineapple sweetness, grapefruit sweetness / bitterness. Not really much like a true Belgian saison. A bit of yeasty bitterness at the end. Pop.

F) Very light and refreshing, easy drinking, just a touch of bitterness to round it. Good.

O) Is this what a saison tastes like in the USA? If so, give me Belgian every time. Having said that I could neck a few of these cold on a hot day and enjoy them. A summer beer drunk in October.

2.12 /5 rDev -41.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The beer is not clear and light yellow in color. The foam is white and will properly. The foam is large to medium bubbles. The foam makes no direct traces in the glass. The aroma is fruity with some hops and malt. Here is some orange peel, lemon, apricot some papaya. Some spices and a little pine. The flavor is quite intense in the early fruits. There are lots of citrus, orange, then comes the little papaya and apricot. Is a little thin malt and some hops flavor. But pretty much carbonic acid. The taste is very fruity and intense in the beginning but decreases quite fast. The flavor seems a bit "artificial" and feels more like being appointed. Light to medium body. High Carbonic. Crispy and dry small. The flavors and feels artificial added.

3.34 /5 rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy straw colour. Gently rising bubbles.
Mild citrus hop smell. Malt present.
Initial astringency mellows later.. Rather sour. Spicy yeast. Somewhat medicinal.
Medium carbonation.

3.52 /5 rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Is that pickle juice? Tastes like pickle juice. There's a little sweet and tart layer on top of the light peppery spice of the saison. Probably the way I interpret the spice/hop/orange peel flavor combo. Cereal on the backend. Odd beer.

2.74 /5 rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I found this beer truly unexceptional.

Look: Looks like a hazy pilsner. Very light yellow with a bubbly head.

Smell: Struggled to get much if anything from it. Soft hay, maybe some cereal grain.

Taste: Initial swig is of a decent ale but disappears after a second or two. It's so brief I had difficulty naming any distinct flavours. Leaves a finish of stale cereal.

Feel: Barely carbonated soda water.

Overall: A sessionable ale that I personally couldn't finish one of. The results were the same for the rest of my household, specifically "I'd rather session a Pabst."

3.61 /5 rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Here comes the Bottle Backlog, again! I had been CANcentrating on The CANQuest (tm) to winnow that down, but I hear the call of the bottles, crying to me from the depths of Chez Woody & I feel impassioned to put them out of their misery. 1/2. Just 1/2. I am reminded of being a Fleet Returnee to Storekeeper (SK) Class "A" school in Meridian, MS in late-1985/early-1986 and marching back from class one evening. Most of our classmates were straight outta Boot, yo, & shoulda done better, but on this occasion, they were marching like Frankenstein! My buddy, "Big Guy" Bigham & I were bringing up the rear when I decided to call out, "Hey, Big Guy, how fast are we marching?" "I dunno, Wood. How fast?" "Half!" "Half?" "Yeah, half fast!" "ANNNND HALT! Bigham, Chandler, front of the line! Show us how it's done!" Not only that, but we got some nice Extra Military Training (EMT) that night to reinforce the idea. It was worth it!

From the bottle: "We love all kinds of farmhouse ales. But the original farmhouse ales weren't big beers - they were beers you could drink while working in the hot sun all day. Our 1/2 Ale reaches back to that tradition - it's a dry, hoppy, citrusy, and delicious saison[,] all at 3.4% Alc, by Vol. In fact, you CAN hav everything."

I Pop!ped the cap and let fly with a heavy-handed pour since I am not into crystal Saisons & I wanted to rouse the lees. This brought forth three fingers of puffy, rocky, Eggshell White-colored head with decent retention. I watched in rapt fascination as it slowly fell, leaving great lacing in its wake. Color wa a cloudy Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7). Nose held a light funk underlain with a lemony citrusiness. Mouthfeel was kind of thin, not watery, per se, but very light. The taste was slightly tart & funky with a lemony-biscuity flavor on the tongue. Finish was dry, still lightly funky, but not challenging. I could certainly see this on a hot summer's day. Now, if that is their intent for this beer, why not put it in a CAN?

3.65 /5 rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hazy, bright yellow color with white head. Aroma has intense dill notes, fresh and herbal. Taste is also herbal and slightly hoppy and bitter. Body is medium and well carbonated. Really nice session saison, fresh and easy to drink.

3.9 /5 rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A must try from Brooklyn. Seeing more of these - see list to right.

A: Very hazed, straw body with a frothed, white head and active carbonation, not much lace.

S: if you let it warm to cask temperature, it's a citrusy, herbal hops bomb with the earthy, spicy accents from dominating yeast. Also light pilsner maltiness. Great smell, great with cheese. I could definitely cook with this beer, and it's a cook's brew!

T: Follows aroma with light, soda cracker pils maltiness that rolls into a barnyard, but now sour, rustic, grassy herbal hay and lemony citrus core.

F: Medium bitterness. peppery phenolics. Nice minerality on the dry finish. Medium-light body. Moderate, lively carbonation, soft in texture.

O: Very drinkable, quite refreshing

4.21 /5 rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(bottle stamped FEB2015 - poured into my Chouffe tulip)

L: very tall, very loose stand of spongy white foam atop a fairly hazy, pale yellow-amber liquid. little strands of craggy, sparkly lace left here and there. the foam suggests bottle-conditioning, and I am only now noticing sandy sediment in the bottom of the bottle - swirled it up, poured it in - oh yeah, this looks the part

S: wonderfully fragrant smell with the orange peel and Sorachi Ace coming through with force. I'll say right up front that this beer smells very much like most of the (lighter-colored) Hitachino Nest brands - pretty damn uncanny. also coming through is an unripe banana peel, some pink peppercorn, perhaps a touch of clove, strawberry taffy - things like that

T: vague champagne notes, which I wanted to suggest where on the nose, greet you up front. the middle and finish is noticeably light and dry, with little true naked malt flavor. the bitterness can come across biting and is coated in a citrus acidity. the aftertaste has a pleasant tartness that could suggest infection, but seems perfectly fine for this style. the Sorachi is really potent here, and the addition of the sediment is a must. minimal sweetness

F: super-ghostly light bodied underneath, softly foamy on top, dry altogether but with a good amount of hop resin and/or yeast sediment left behind on the palette

O: isn't exactly the perfect weather (here on 20 Nov) for a beer like this, and one would perhaps want about twice the alcohol on a chilly day, but this turned out to be rather nice as a palette and skull refresher prior to cooking dinner. high(er) marks on flavor, surely because of the Sorachi and yeast profile, though I'm curious how good this would be if they removed that hop. I'll almost certainly revisit this come summer

3.67 /5 rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like big beers. This is not one.

Aroma is fairly musty, grassy, and floral, with earthy and citrusy hop notes. More than expected.

Flavor is light, with a crackery malt base, a light lemony citrus presence, and a lightly bitter finish.

3.7 /5 rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

355ml bottle into an oversized wine glass. Paid £2.00 for a single bottle.

Pours a hazy, pale, straw-coloured body with a one-finger in height, bubbly, white head. Despite an excellent amount of visible carbonation it reduces quickly to a patchy film and leaves behind only a small amount of frail lacing.

On the nose, light pilsner malts and citrusy hops are the most noticeable aromas. Fragrant oils from grapefruit and lemon peels dominate but also recognisable are gentle floral notes, fruity apricot, and light Belgian yeast. The taste follows suit, leading for a short time with pale malts and crisp sweet grains, before quickly handing over to the citrusy hop profile. Like the nose, grapefruit and lemon peels dominate the flavour but there is also a herbal touch and some grassy bitterness from the mid palate onwards. In the mouth a light body and plenty of carbonation give a thin, crisp and lively feel that starts and finishes semi-dry. Towards the end, Belgian yeast adds a subtle dry, spicy, earthy, peppery character before leaving grapefruit and lemon rind bitterness to linger on the palate.

Overall this is a decent beer. It’s bright, clean, crisp and refreshing, but ultimately let down the malt body which is lacking in balance, character and depth. I can’t see myself picking up another bottle to drink on its own, although it might pair well in the summer with a light lunch.

2.83 /5 rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Very light straw. Minimal head. Aroma of pilsner malts. Lemon grass, slightly spicy. Light bodied. High carbonation.
Horseradish. Peppercorns.

Brooklyn Brewery would add 140 jobs to Staten Island's employment pool (with photos & video)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- If the proposal to expand Brooklyn Brewery's production and market reach with a facility on Staten Island's West Shore is approved, it would bring about 140 brewing, administrative and maintenance jobs to the borough.

Since 1996, Brooklyn Brewery has been a staple in the Wiliamsburg section of the borough. But the brewery needs to expand and has been searching for a 20- to 25-acre parcel of land, near a rail system, that could house a production facility.

And Staten Island appears to be the perfect location for it.

"We are out of space (at the Brooklyn facility). We are at capacity and our sales are booming, particularly our export sales," said Eric Ottaway, chief operating officer and general manager of Brooklyn Brewery.

"Exports -- primarily to Europe, but also to Brazil, Hong Kong and Japan -- are already a third of our business and it's growing at over 60 percent per year at the moment. Over the course of 10 years, the new facility will create over 140 jobs," he added.

Jobs at the new beer production facility would include brewers, administrators and those in packaging, warehousing and facility maintenance.

Because only 20 percent of its beer production is done at the Brooklyn facility -- with the other 80 percent in Utica, N.Y. -- the third location will allow for a larger scale brewing operation of up to 1 million barrels, each holding 31 gallons of beer.

The brewery is also looking at land parcels in the lower Hudson Valley and in New Jersey, said Ottaway. But one of sites topping the list for the Brewery's expansion is the West Shore parcel, which was formerly earmarked for an 82,500-seat NASCAR racetrack before it was derailed by public skepticism and political opposition.

"Ideally we want to have our site fully identified by the end of this year so we can begin construction in 2015, finish by the end of 2016 an begin brewing by 2017," said Ottaway.

As far as he new facility's setup, Ottaway isn't sure yet if it will house a tasting room.

"We get over 3,000 visitors a weekend to our tasting room in Brooklyn. About half of our visitors are international tourists. But the primary need for the new site is production," he said, noting the West Shore lacks public transportation options for visitors.

The potential for the brewery to come to Staten Island is appealing to many community leaders, particularly Borough President James Oddo, who met with the site owners, Staten Island Marine, and Brooklyn Brewery officials on Wednesday.

"This plant would be great because it would provide jobs. It's great to see our waterfront coming alive above and beyond the exciting vibrant maritime services that we have," said Oddo to the Advance on Tuesday.


As to whether the newly-opened Flagship Brewery in St. George will be a competitor to Brooklyn Brewery, Ottaway said, "That is a different scale operation."

"We are all in the same industry. It's not like we are looking to compete with them. Weɽ be friendly neighbors. When you go into a bar we want that tap as much as anyone else does, but behind the scenes we (breweries) are very collaborative and collegial," he added.

Needed to get the site up and running however, it about $75 million in funding, which is being sought through New York City Regional Economic Development Council.

Night Shift’s Huge New Boston Brewery Will Be Filled With Coffee and Food

From its humble beginnings as a homebrewing operation, to its first home in a small warehouse in Everett, to its more recent life as a massive production and distribution operation with an extremely popular taproom, Night Shift Brewing (87 Santilli Hwy., Everett) has come a long way since its founding in 2012. Now, the brewery stands poised to add yet another piece to the puzzle: a 12,000-square-foot brewery and taproom in Boston proper, as previously reported. Read on for more details on the new project.

The forthcoming facility at Lovejoy Wharf, located on the border of Boston’s West End and North End, will give Night Shift an opportunity to brew more innovative beers in a space that will accommodate hordes of people.

“In terms of customer space, it’s going to be larger than ever,” co-founder Michael Oxton told Eater.

Oxton, who started Night Shift with Mike O’Mara and Rob Burns, said that the Lovejoy brewery will have more than 300 seats, and during warmer months, there will be waterfront patio seating overlooking the Harborwalk. Of the 12,000 square feet within the new facility, about 25 percent will house brewing and production, while the other 75 percent will accommodate a kitchen, a taproom and seating area, and a cafe and retail space.

Lovejoy Wharf Night Shift Brewing [Official Photo]

Night Shift’s production manager Anna Jobe will manage the Lovejoy brewery’s 10-barrel brewing system, which has a capacity of about 2,500 barrels per year. There will be plenty of room for experimentation and innovation, and the brewery’s employees will get the chance to test recipes and leave their fingerprints on Night Shift’s beers.

The taproom will have 30 tap lines, with the majority of beers brewed on-site, kegged, and only poured out of the Lovejoy location, which Oxton said would be highly innovation-driven, supplemented by the brewery’s core brands like Santilli and Whirlpool.

“Every aspect of the brewing process can really be toyed with, from yeast cultures, to herbs and spices, to just processes in the actual brewing — how we ferment it, what temperatures we use,” Oxton said. “We’re also gonna do sort of a rotation for the rest of our brewers so each person gets a turn working in that space.”

Though there will be some barrel aging, Lovejoy won’t do any canning or bottling on site.

“In some ways it’s liberating because we’re exclusively focused on the tap lines in that space in terms of what we’re producing there,” Oxton said. “There’s no limitation on what we can do.”

Expect to see a full lineup of beers, including sours, saisons, IPAs, and some new offerings that “play around with some funky yeast cultures,” Oxton said.

Lovejoy Wharf Night Shift Brewing [Official Photo]

Night Shift’s Lovejoy brewery will also embrace a new dual-purpose cafe and beer trend among several Boston breweries, with its own coffee program for espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, and more, according to Oxton. With a full kitchen, Night Shift will work with RealFood Consulting to develop a food menu for the new brewery.

Though it’s a large expansion, the Boston brewery brings Night Shift full circle to where Oxton, O’Mara, and Burns began.

“Our whole brewery started as us homebrewing in the kitchen, using culinary inspired beer recipes, and now we’re going back,” Oxton said, with foods that complement the beers. “The goal of the space is really to put the spotlight on the beer, and great food should be the supplement.”

Oxton said there will be sandwiches, salads, and a few soups — a simple, one-page menu of “familiar items but an elevated, creative take or twist on them.”

Night Shift has partnered with Helios Design Group and Cafco Construction to build out the space, holding onto a bit of its history as a submarine part manufacturer and Schrafft’s candy production site while bringing in modern touches.

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All tours are currently canceled, but someday we'll be able to go behind the scenes and geek out together.


We are able to book events & will increase our scale as safety & government guidance allows. Please inquire for more info & thanks for your patience.



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Brooklyner Wheat Beer Brooklyn Brewery

Protips: Explain why you're giving this rating. Your review must discuss the beer's attributes (look, smell, taste, feel) and your overall impression in order to indicate that you have legitimately tried the beer. Nonconstructive reviews may be removed without notice and action may be taken on your account.

Help Us Be Awesome

4 /5 rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark golden in color, with a moderate, persistent, fine-beaded off-white head, thick lacing, which rings the glass walls, and profuse, small, slow-rising carbonation.

Aroma: Prominent aroma of bread, cloves, ripe bananas and bubble gum, very appropriate to style.

Taste: Begins with a strong wave of wheat malt, and notable earthy yeast flavors. As well there are cloves and bananas, which present well against the wheat backbone. Finishes with a mild, lingering spiciness and an understated herbal hop presence.

Mouth feel: Smooth and full, very soft, quite pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: Very refreshing and drinkable, an excellent rendition of the style.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass long neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a Samuel Adams Boston Lager sensory glass.

3.45 /5 rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Hazy amber orange color with a relatively low head with short retention.
Nice and bold aroma of banana, honey, oranges, mild pine, yeast and white bread.
Initially spicy flavor that becomes yeasty with notes of cloves, oxidized oranges, bubblegum, some banana and bagels.
Medium body with low carbonation and a licorish sensation.
Very flavorful, though it could be a tad less sweet. Almost a liquid clove bubblegum or a yeast soup.

3.77 /5 rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Wegmans Dewitt NY for $2

Appearance - Hazy yellow colour with an average size fizzy/frothy white coloured head. There is a high amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Breads/grains, clove, coriander, lemons

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste breads, grains, and citrus juice/zest. There is also some clove/coriander and a bit of banana flavour.

Overall –A pretty textbook example of the style. Lots of typical flavours found in a hefe and a fitting mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. It does come off a little more heavy than refreshing, but still a good beer worth trying.

4 /5 rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into weizen glass, best before 11/2013. Pours very hazy golden amber color with a 2 finger foamy and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big lemon, pear, banana, orange zest, clove, pepper, wheat, bread, floral, bubblegum, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and yeast ester notes with good strength. Taste of lemon, pear, banana, orange peel, clove, wheat, bread, light pepper, floral, bubblegum, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Slight bready tartness on the finish with lingering notes of banana, citrus, clove, wheat, bread, light pepper, bubblegum, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of malt and yeast ester flavors with good robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body with a smooth and moderately creamy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice hefeweizen style! All around good balance, robustness, and complexity of malt and yeast ester flavors and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

3.59 /5 rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Just the slightest of crisp audibly fizzy bone white colored head that displays zero retention and quickly fizzes away leaving no lacing or collar in its wake. The color is a mix of pale gold and muted amber. There is a slight yet distinct haziness that permeates. From a side view there is a limited bit of micro bubbled carbonation towards the top of the glass. From the top view there is a good bit of carbonation rising and bursting through the surface..

S - A fairly bold nose for the stye. Loads of Belgian yeasty goodness. Fresh wheat. Some faint orange zest. A hint of bubble gum. Ripened bananas. Perhaps even a slight kiss of spiciness.

T - The boldness of the aroma serves as a bit of a misnomer when it comes to the rather pedestrian experience that awaits for the palate. The Belgian yeast i there. The wheat is there. The orange zest is there. The over-ripened banana and bubble gum is there as well. However the flavors don't seem to compliment one another as I would expect. There is a slightly cloying honey quality that lingers on the finish for a bit.

M - Medium bodied. A bit sticky. Not thick, but certainly thicker than expected for the style. Briskly carbonated.

D - A decent and certainly respectable American interruption of the Hefeweizen style. I have no real superlatives to offer, nor do I have any real complaints. A simple, satisfying, straight-forward offering that may find it's way back into my glass at some point next spring or summer.

4.28 /5 rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Hazy Orange with 1 finger head and decent carbonation.

Smell - Lots of banana, grassy notes and very authentic German scents you would find in the several World Class/Excellent rated Hefeweizens.

Taste - Excellent and Authentic German Hefeweizen crafted beer. Sweet and malty and smooth delivery. Very little hop presence as expected. A tad dry in the finish so for a light beer its quite flavorful but the dryness makes you want more to quench the thirst.

Mouthfeel - Very pleasant for the style.

Overall - One of the better made Hefeweizen I've had that is made here on the left side of the pond in the US. I highly recommend a trying one if your in the mood for a German Hef. and its on the menu our in your local bottle shop.

3.06 /5 rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazy yellow with no head

Tastes much less fruity than I expected but not necessarily in a bad way. The strongest flavor was clove and possibly cinnamon. Also pretty wheaty. There is a hint of fruitiness but not much. Some tartness.

Mouthfeel-Very slight carbonation

Overall-It was ok. Didn't blow me away but I wouldnt turn one down in the future.

3.72 /5 rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a very hazy orange amber color with a one finger white head. The head fades very rapidly leaving a trace level of foam on the top of the brew and almost no lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is quite heavy in a grainy wheat and banana smell. Along with these aromas are strong smells of yeast and spice. The spice is of coriander, nutmeg and clove with some lighter orange aromas mixed within. Overall the aroma is on the sweeter and wheatier side, but overall is quite nice.

Taste – The taste begins with a big bready and grainy wheat flavor. Mixed with these flavors is a strong banana taste as well as lots of yeast and spice. The spice, as the nose would have predicted, was mainly of clove and coriander, but these were rather light in comparison to the mix of wheat, banana and yeast. As the taste advances the wheat, while initially more grainy, gets smoother as the taste moves on further to the end. The banana sweetness remains relatively constant throughout the taste maintaining a nice level of sweetness throughout the whole taste with a bit of orange coming to the tongue more toward the end. In the end with the mix of flavors leaves a nice rather smooth wheat and citrus orange spiced flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the medium to slightly thicker side for a brew of only 5.1 % abv with a carbonation level that is on the average to slightly above average side. The chewier nature as well as moderate carbonation are rather nice for the wheaty flavors of the brew and nicely complimenting the yeast and spice flavors of the brew.

Overall – A tasty hefe with a good wheat, fruity, and yeasty flavor. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

Axnjxn from North Carolina

3.77 /5 rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a shaker. BB nov 2013

pours a copper color with an inch or white head. good malty aroma. taste is traditional german hefe. crisp and very malty. impressive from an american brewer. medium bodied with medium carbonation.

overall great for the price if you enjoy the style.

3.88 /5 rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sure enough, I was working the other night. Lots of rain, traffic, and fares in New York but thankfully, I had a person going back to Jersey for the night. I made a stop at the Buy-Rite in Jersey City before going back on-duty and I nearly did a double take when I saw this on the shelf. I loved the Brooklyner Weisse and nearly thought that this was that, until I saw the label. Going on their website gave me the background on this beer and even though it wasn't quite the same as the Summer offering that I once enjoyed, I was still excited to have this out of a bottle again for the first time in years. While this wasn't much of improvement over the Weisse, this has enough going for it that it's still a great choice for this time of the year and easily enjoyable without being light or feeling watered-down.

The pour to this was a bit darker than I remembered it being, with cloudy, golden hue that almost looked taupe. Not much of a head to this until I swirled out the last of the wheat at the bottom of the bottle and slowly let it drip into my pint glass. Whoosh! Now we're talking. and once that settled, there was a bit of the foam left to enjoy as I made my first sip. Clove? Yup. Banana? Yep. Bubble gum? Yup. Wheat? Yup. Grass? Yup. but not that much and the citrus twang in the midst of the former version of this wasn't to be found here. So this was a bit more mellow but the carbonation was present enough to add an air of lightness to all of this and there was just a hint of Saison-like spice and sourness too, adding just a nice hint of color while allowing this beer to be true to its roots.

While just a hint over 5.00% ABV, this would still make a great session beer if I had time to enjoy more than one in a sitting. It's not as good as the top-rated beers in this category but as I've been saying for so long, this *should* be the Summer offering from Brooklyn as I find it to be more colorful, full-bodied, and enjoyable than their Summer Ale. This won't blow anyone anyway but come to think of it, anything that comes out this time of the year. A warm-weather beer should be inviting, relaxing, and still leave you wanting for more as the sun slowly fades into the horizon and I'm so happy to say that this is exactly how this beer makes me feel. No doubt that I'm gonna be making the trek down to Jersey City for another six-pack of this before the season's over!

3.79 /5 rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy gold with a thin white head. Decent retention and lacing. Aroma is of candy, and fruit. Body is on the lighter side of medium and carbonated. Taste is of sweet tart fruits. Nice finish with hints od banana. Great version of this style!

3.66 /5 rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A muddy brown-yellow after swirling in the yeast. Head looks tight. Has a bleachy white color to it and some solidity to the retention. Maybe I should of used a weizen glass for this one.

A little more clove than banana, but both. Actually, a good dose of clove with wheat malts and a sweet fruity yeast element that crosses up the malty dryness. White bread notes are bigger than expected. Almost smells like damp white bread, with a hint of spiciness.

Smooth drinking. More of the clove, louder now. Lots of white bread and a hint of spice. Banana is here, too, but outmatched by the wheat grains. Has a nearly metallic and semi-bitter finish, uncharacteristic of a hefe. But, the swallow is fair. Lots of suspended muck, but the quality of the yeast used could be improved a bit. Faint bubble gum note. Carbonation is very mild and subdued, which allows the flavors to try to pull out and in-front. Pretty wet in the body rather filled-out. Doesn't hurt in the way that it drinks so easily.

This is a beer that I'd like to get back to. A nothing-special kind of hefe with great drinkability and simple goodness in the mouth. The aroma outdoes itself in ways.

4.17 /5 rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this bottle into a pint glass.

The liquid is a cloudy golden color with a fluffy off white head that slowly dissipated. It's aroma is dominated by yeast with lots of clove, banana and some funky grassiness. The taste is slightly tangy with lots of yeast backed up by lemon, wheat and more banana. It has a medium body with lots of subtle carbonation and a slightly dry finish. This beer is an excellent example of the style and I found it very enjoyable.

3.47 /5 rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S - Banana, clove, cinnamon spice. Peppery.

T - Clove come out more as well as cinnamon. Its pretty balanced overall.

M - Feels right. Medium bodied with a sorta bubbly carbonation.

O - Not a bad American interpretation. At 6 dollars is a steal.

3.97 /5 rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Only $6 for a sixer! Best Before Oct 2012

A: Humungous, fluffy head. Not much lacing after the head has died down, though. Unfiltered.

S: Big clove aroma, nutmeg, smoke, cinnamon, banana bread.

T: More clove-y, spicy, sugar cookie-ish, an orange tartness aftertaste. Not much hop action.

M: Quaffable, suprisingly a bit light on the carbonation.

O: A good hefeweizen at a great price. Not up to par with the best authentic hefes, but still really good. I'd buy again.

3.55 /5 rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow color with a small to medium fleeting head.
The aroma is a typical german style hefe, mild bannanas and cloves, maybe a hint of noble hops. And yeasty bread aromas
The flavor is the same as aroma, nothing impressive imo
mouthfeel is creamy and light with a balnced finish
overall it's an ok beer, nice for the summertime for sure. nice to drink outside on a hot day

4.47 /5 rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brooklyner Wheat Beer has a thick, off-white head and a hazy (after swishing the bottle), yellow-orange appearance, with a huge amount of streaming bubbles, but almost no lacing. The aroma is sharp and yeasty, and the flavor provides water, coriander, white wheat bread, some banana, and sugar. There is minimal bitterness here. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Brooklyner Wheat Beer finishes semi-dry and very refreshing. Overall, this is a most excellent beer.

3.97 /5 rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This pours a nice cloudy golden orange with a thick white head that quickly fades.

S: This has that nice potent Hefeweizen yeast smell of fruit and also has a nice malt smell.

T: The taste to me is one of the best Hefeweizens I have ever had. It has a fantastic fruit flavor, some yeast and a bit of lingering malt.

M: This is a very smooth beer that goes down with ease. It has a tiny bit of carbonation that I feel on the back of my throat. All around a great feeling.

O: I absolutely love this beer. It is so easy to drink and perfect for a hot summer day.

3.83 /5 rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out into a hefeweizen glass, its got a nice hazy burnt orange and golden brown body topped off with a semi-thick bubbly head. The head slowly dissipates into a thin layer of soft creamy bubbles accompanied by some strong lacing that marks your beer level after every sip. I can pick up some wheat, spices and citrus aromas like orange peel grapefruit, and even some apple. The aromas aren’t very strong and there is a slight hint of sweetness to it as well. The beer is really crisp when it hits the tip of your tongue and the ester flavors do come through along with some banana bread , the flavors like the aromas aren’t very strong, but they aren’t lacking either. It’s a bit bitter when it hits the sides of your mouth and calms down as you swallow, and so do the flavors. After it warms up a bit, the flavors are a bit more present in its aftertaste. This is the same beer as the Brooklyner Weisse, but the recipe has been altered just a bit:

For those who don’t want to copy and paste, here’s the page straight from the horse’s mouth:

Refreshing, light, and brisk, wheat beers have been popular in Bavaria for centuries. Weissbier or hefeweizen (wheat beer with yeast) was once brewed exclusively by the Bavarian royal family. In the 1800’s, they were popular among German immigrants to the United States. Our Brooklyner Weisse is brewed in the classic German style from German wheat and barley malts. Our special Bavarian yeast produces the flavors and aromas that wheat beers are prized for – bananas, cloves, and melon, with a smoky note in the background. This beer is traditionally left unfiltered, so there’s a dusting of yeast still in the beer, adding the hazy appearance and greater depth to the flavors. Pour, admire the big fluffy head, and enjoy sunshine in a glass.
We're currently working on an experiment to bring Brooklyner back to the bottle. We've released a slightly different formula under the name "Brooklyner Wheat Beer" in a few random locations. If you happen to see it, grab a Brooklyner and email [email protected] with your thoughts.


OK, so brewing techniques have adapted, but attitudes toward alcohol itself seem to be undergoing a sea change, the likes of which we haven't seen for generations. Beer, it might be said, is changing more rapidly than during the "real ale" campaigns in the UK in the 1970s and 80s or the North American-led craft beer revolution of the 1990s and naughts. Conceivably even since the ninth century, when French Benedictine monks first thought of adding hops as a preservative.

Perhaps as a result of that ill-fated experience with Prohibition, or lingering associations with religious constraints or finger-wagging puritanism, many American drinkers are sensitive about saying they'd prefer a low- or no-alcohol option, especially in a bar.

"That's beginning to shift," says Sophia Shaw-Brown, an insight manager at the global drinks-industry analyst IWSR, which has identified the low- and no- trend as the biggest earthquake to hit producers in years. "There's a lot less pressure for people to follow social norms than there once was if you're going for drinks after work, it's more acceptable to say, 'I'm going to moderate.'"

Certainly "mindful drinking" seems to have gathered steam in recent years. Generation-Z twentysomethings drink perhaps a fifth less than millennials did at their age (they may simply be getting intoxicated more creatively, though: some research suggests that they use recreational drugs more often).

After interviewing hundreds of consumers across 10 countries, the IWSR team found that low- and no- consumers skew older: professionals settling into their careers. And there was one key reason to cut down: wanting to avoid the effect of alcohol on their bodies. "That came far above other factors like cost, medical, pregnancy, weight loss – things that you'd assume would play a bigger role," says Shaw-Brown.

Ottaway agrees: "When you're not 21 any longer, drinking 7% beer hurts the following day. And retailers are wising up to that. They're realizing that they're losing consumers who only want to have one drink because they've had enough alcohol." NA beer is also significantly better for your waistline: a 12oz serving of Brooklyn Special Effects contains 102 calories, as opposed to 170 for a standard Brooklyn Lager.

To put it in other words, the trend for wellness seems finally to have caught up with the industry. The pastel-bright, Instagram-ready branding of many low- and no-alcohol products indicates the market segment they're aiming for so too do the names of alcohol-free beers like WellBeing Brewing in Missouri and the UK-based Nirvana, which go heavy on the healthful vibes.

Erdinger, one of Germany's most famous export brands, now markets its low-alcohol wheat beer as an "isotonic, vitamin-rich" drink and even doles out free samples at major sporting fixtures like the Berlin Marathon.

Even dietary restriction fads seem to have touched the world of beer, says Rob Fink: "You have to laugh. A few years ago, we couldn't persuade bars to look at no-alcohol beer. Now everyone asks: 'Is it gluten-free? Is it vegan?'"

Where is Covid in all this, though? Drink sales have traditionally depended on people going out – which, of course, almost none of us are doing at the moment. Fink, who entered 2020 with ambitious plans for expansion in bars and pubs, says that the collapse there has – to his mild astonishment – been offset by a surge in web sales.

He doesn't think the reasons are complicated. "I'm sure I'm as guilty as the next man at saying, 'OK, it's 3pm, we're in lockdown, let's open the beer,' he says. "But that's not sustainable: you can't do that long-term, particularly if you're looking after kids and trying to work remotely or whatever."

"People who like to drink nice wine have set up wine subscriptions or meat and veg-box subscriptions," he adds. "Buying alcohol-free beer by the case fits nicely into that."

Ottaway wonders if lockdown has, in fact, made many of us more aware of how much we drink whereas in a bar someone else clears away the empty bottles and rinses the glasses, when we're stuck at home there's nowhere to hide. "You can feel it in the curbside recycling," he laughs.

More than that, a crisis such as Covid has made so many people more conscious of how alcohol consumption affects our health. A third of the drinkers Shaw-Brown's team spoke to said they were entering 2021 determined to be healthier nearly 40% said that the pandemic had made them drink less. "Suddenly health and wellness are at the forefront of people's minds," she says. "For alcohol-free, it's a kind of perfect storm." 101 years after Prohibition began, only to be abandoned, teetotalism seems to be creeping back into the US by stealth.

The huge question, of course, is what happens in the post-Covid world. If vaccinations manage to turn the tide and we're able to lead some version of the lives we used to – assuming that day ever arrives – will we head straight to the bar on the corner and cram into that sweaty basement gig, beer in hand?

Ottaway hopes yes – it's just that the beer might not be an alcoholic one. "Alcohol is a great social lubricant," he observes. "But you don't have to have alcohol to feel social."

Watch the video: Craft Beer Hall of Fame: Brooklyn Lager (January 2022).