You can’t create a great moment, they just happen. you need to capture it before it’s gone.
Having spent more than a decade writing about music, I’m well aware of the degree to which Internet-based hype can affect public opinion. In the first half of the 00’s, this story played out time and time again: a young band would catch the ear of a small handful of influential bloggers, who would then turn around and share their discovery with their ever-growing readership, and because technology allowed word to spread so quickly, consensus would loudly state that said band was the Next Big Thing—oftentimes before they’d even written enough material to play a full set. It was the beginning of an era where we came to value newness and obscurity (or being able to say we rescued someone from obscurity) as much as, if not more than, we valued the quality of the music itself. We wanted a story, not just another brilliant Wilco record, basically.
Nowhere is this particular narrative more prominent right now than in the world of craft beer, where message board buzz looms large, and small breweries wind up struggling to meet demand for their product. The most obvious example is Heady Topper from Vermont’s The Alchemist brewery. It’s an extremely delicious IPA that’s climbed to #1 on the Beer Advocate Top 250, despite the fact that it’s not regularly distributed outside of Vermont—and there are parts of that state where you can’t even get it!
*Be sure to watch the video at the link as well*
Found some old scans of Polaroids on my computer that I took during my first road trip through California. I need to break out the ol’ Polaroid camera again.
A little over a year and a half ago, Singlecut Beersmiths became the first new brewery to open in Queens since prohibition. And unlike basically any other brewery that’s opened anywherein the past few years, Singlecut focuses much of their attention not on the now far more common ales, but on on lagers, a style that’s fallen out of favor in craft circles for a number of reasons: the brewing process is far more time-consuming and demanding, for one, but there’s also the sense, thanks to the garbage produced by Budweiser and all those guys, that they’re simply less advanced, less challenging than their warm-fermenting brethren.
At Singlecut, though, they’re doing more than their part to change how we look at the badly misunderstood lager.
Click through to check out a slideshow of photos I shot at Singlecut.
I visited yet another Queens brewery. Click through and check out the photos.
As we discussed in this very space yesterday, we may need to get used to the fact that some of the more obviously Brooklynish things are going to start happening outside the borders of Brooklyn itself and in other nearby places with more and cheaper available space. Case in point, Transmitter Brewing, a Long Island City-based operation that opened its doors just a few months ago.
Owned by longtime friends Anthony Accardi and Rob Kolb, Transmitter specializes in farmhouse ales, a style of beer that’s caught on big-time in craft beer circles nationwide, but has been slow to take hold here in the city. It’s a classic Belgian style (though there are well established French and American versions as well) that’s characterized most often by its cloudy appearance, the presence of spices like pepper or coriander, relatively high carbonation and a pronounced and distinctive yeast character. Accardi and Kolb at Transmitter have developed a “library of traditional Belgian, French, English and American yeast” strains to go along with 20 different varieties of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus, wild strains that provide sour/and or fruity notes. Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace is a stellar example of the style, but that’s about it when it comes to year-round offerings from local breweries.
Those of us who have spent any substantial amount of time in Queens, or maybe were even born there or–gasp! the horror!–continue living there to this very day have long laughed at the fact that whenever you even mention Queens to people, they say, “Oooh, like Astoria? I love Astoria!” or, more recently, “Oh yeah, I know someone who once considered moving to Long Island City!” Well, there are other parts of Queens. Lots of them, even! And one of them is Glendale, a neighborhood just east of Ridgewood–another area that’s been picking up steam with Brooklyn types for a while now, thanks to its proximity to Bushwick–which also happens to be the home of a very promising new brewery.
Finback Brewery was founded in 2011 but just settled into its permanent Queens home earlier this year.
Give this a read and check out the photos!
If you were to ask beer nerds in and around Brooklyn what’s currently the most promising new brewery in a city that’s basically overflowing with promising new breweries, there’s a pretty good chance every single one of them would tell you it’s Other Half Brewing. The Gowanus-based operation was founded by Sam Richardson and Mann Monahan, both of whom got their start under KelSo’s Kelly Taylor at Greenpoint Beer Works.
Check out some photos I took at Other Half Brewing