Many a time, New Yorkers are creatures of habit, even when it comes down to their beer choices. Of course, there’s one other thing that New Yorkers are not: boring. So there should be no better excuse to give a unique, rare New York State craft beer a try than at this summer’s Craft New York Rare Beer Festival.
Twenty-six state brewers will be pouring some of their brands’ most exclusive, one-off brews for craft beer aficionados this June at Brooklyn Brewery. Paul Leone, the executive director of the New York State Brewer’s Association, helped handpick the 50 beers that will be served, and says it’s a doozy of a list. “It’s really the most unique beer list I’ve ever seen,” he says. “Most of these are one-off beers that you probably won’t ever see again.”
Leone says the breweries “went all out” to exhibit their most rare, non-core branded beers. So it’s safe to say that there are some recurring themes among the brews of the Craft New York Rare Beer Festival: big beers (with big ABVs), aged beers and experimental beers. The list also includes some major award-winners. On tap at the festival: the Captain Lawrence’s Rosso e Marrone (a barrel-aged American sour blended with red wine grapes and Brettanomyces yeast) that took a gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in 2013, and Crossroads Brewing Co.’s Black Rock Stout, which brought the gold home at the World Beer Cup in 2014.
Leone gave us another sneak peek at the very rare beers served at the festival; needless to say, our mouths are watering. More of the beers to be served at the Craft New York Rare Beer Festival:
• Kelso’s Brett Saison, aged in Jameson Irish Whiskey barrels
• Big Alice’s hot chile and oatmeal triple IPA, weighing in at 12.8% ABV
• Empire Brewing Company’s 2012 barleywine aged in Tuthilltown bourbon barrels
• Shmaltz Brewing Company’s Rejewvenator, a half-doppelbock, half-Belgian dubbel, brewed with dates and figs and aged in rye whiskey barrels for nine months
• Greenport Harbor’s 2011 Cuvaison (“It’s ridiculous,” says Leone)
• Lake Placid’s Maple Sap UBU Ale, brewed with 100 percent local maple sap instead of water
• Adirondack Pub & Brewery’s “Winoweizen,” a dark German-style wheat beer aged in New York State pinot noir barrels for six months
Photo credit: Flickr / gina pina