BeerGraphs Brooklyn Meetup: How I Discovered My Favorite Style

Michael Donato, July 15, 2015

The BeerGraphs Brooklyn meetup was this past Saturday, and a ton of fun. It included a journey across boroughs and featured breweries of various sizes. There were bottles, drafts, ciders, Hawaiian Food, American food, two waterways, parking spaces everywhere, long walks, the G train, and immodium, to name just a few.

What it didn’t feature, at least not for me, was any dark beer.

It did feature a discussion about the appropriateness of an imperial stout in the summer time. For the record, I’m for it. You drink it a little colder than you would normally, but those rich roasty flavors tend to pair well with the every-present BBQ we tend to eat.

You have two ways to drink in the summer heat; either you’re pounding beverages to keep hydrated and cool, or you want something you can enjoy. Personally I like to eat and drink less in the summer and sipping a heavier beer is a great way to enjoy something slowly. You actually get less alcohol in enjoying a rich stout over a long period than slurping three session beers like water -- especially with how loosely defined ‘session’ often is. 

We started out at Transmitter, which pretty much requires you to walk the Pulaski Bridge over the Long Island Expressway and descend a whole lot of stairs to below the bridge. The brewery is wide open on one side, and you can smell the freshly brewing beer wafting out. It’s a great smell and a fitting start to a day of beer drinking. I always find the locations of breweries interesting, and being in a wide-open warehouse overlooking a parking lot under a bridge is pretty unique, even if it’s not pretty.

The best beer at Transmitter was the G4, a Golden Sour. It was a light sour, with bright fruity undertones. I also tasted the reformatted NY1, a rye saison beer I’d had at New York City Beer Week.  I’d really enjoyed it then and it might be even better now. 

This is where our dark beers in the summer conversation started, in part because of a bottle of Other Half’s All Green Everything (5.73 BAR, 111 Style+) that fellow BeerGrapher Matt Murphy brought to share. And lots of thanks to Transmitter for chilling it for us. Friendliness goes such a long way towards fondly remembering a brewery. All Green Everything is a rather heavy triple IPA, and you may recall that we were basically sitting outside in an asphalt parking lot during a hot day. 

A mile or so walk brought us to Evil Twin’s bar Tørst. There I had a raspberry oak-aged cider called Millstone Ciderberry. In retrospect I probably should’ve had something from Evil Twin, but I was hot and just wanted to grab my beer and sit down so I picked something at random. It was a very good cider, with lots of tartness though a refined raspberry taste. 

Next up was a G train ride to Other Half Brewing, a brewery with a lot of hype here in the metropolitan area. Matt had regaled us earlier with the line and crowd to purchase the cans of All Green Everything. Other Half is located in a non-descript building across from a McDonalds. They’ve got a small air-conditioned, which was appreciated immensely, tasting room with an overflow section next to the actual brewing equipment and barrel-aging beers with a great view of the aforementioned McDonalds. It also featured a nice brewery smell that was masked by the dumpsters right outside the door and the cat litter box to the side.

I found most of Other Half’s beers to be good but not great. The ones I ended up trying seemed to spend too much time simply showcasing new or different hops, and less time balancing out a great beer. The best one I had between me, J.R. Shirt and T-Bone was the 7venth Sun (Not to be confused with Seventh Son) collab It’s Not You It’s Me, featuring Lychee. Lychee in a beer is weird, and I’m not sure I can quite describe it, but it added a balancing flavor not found in the Hop Showers (4.32, 110). 

Here’s an incomplete list of different hops that were in the beers we tried.

  • Citra
  • Lemondrop
  • Azacca
  • Mosaic
  • Motueka
  • Galaxy
  • Ahtanum
  • Amarillo
  • Apollo
  • Cascade
  • El Dorado

Onwards to the crux of the meetup at Threes Brewing, just a stone’s throw (maybe if you’re Giancarlo Stanton or Eli Manning or someone that can throw a stone a half mile) from the Barclay’s Center where the Islanders will start playing next season.

I’m sure there are other places to pregame, but it’s hard to beat a brewery making delicious beer. Especially one that seemed to have nearby parking, something I’d personally be looking for driving in from New Jersey. I will not recount the disaster that was getting home from there via mass transit, and will just say that I’d rather drive to an Islanders game and not drink than drink and take mass transit to and from Jersey. 

Threes was a great space. Great beer, both Threes and otherwise, big space, full bar, outdoor patio area, party room, rotating kitchen, and a coffee bar. I’m not really even sure what else you’d want in a space like this. Good company? Oh, we had that too. 

It was somewhere near the end of the pitcher of Positive Selection, a very tasty saison, that I realized I was craving a dark beer. I’d had a similar experience in Germany with all the pilsners and oktoberfests. My desert island style would undoubtedly be a black IPA. I enjoy the rich flavors of well-roasted malt too much to pass it up, but I wouldn’t want to give up hops either. Best of both worlds. I wanted to stick to Threes though, so I ordered the Just Add Water which was a collaboration with Industrial Arts. Never heard of them? Oh, that's the name of Jeff O'Neil's, formerly of Peekskill and Ithaca Brewing, next venture. 

I finished the night with an import for some reason. Koutská Desítka 10° by Pivovar Kout na ŠumavÄ›. Koutska 10 was how it was listed, and it it’s a blonde/pale that mentioned peanuts in the description, which is what intrigued me. It tasted pretty good, but it was too far along a day of drinking to give any reasonable recollection of the flavor or nuance. 

My biggest regret was not ordering a train beer in Penn Station from the pizza place with 30 taps and three to four full coolers of bottles. YOUR biggest regret might be not joining Shirt and T-Bone and who knows who else at Jose Pistola's on Thursday

Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd. This post was fueled with Founder's Breakfast Stout.