Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A mini impromptu brewery tour at Brooklyn Brewery

OK, so the only plans that we officially had with the family was to go to Brooklyn Brewery during the holidays. Growing up in NJ and living in Williamsburg for a while, I definitely drank A LOT of their Black Chocolate Stout and their East India Pale Ale. So when 2/3 of the family is huge into beer, we thought it would be a good idea to go to the brewery on the Saturday after Christmas.  Crazy as it is, I had never been there before.  I guess the memo didn't get out to all of the family members as some were not too thrilled to go. Plus it was a really crappy rainy day and even I didn't really want to drive into Brooklyn from NJ. But since we were all there and a lot of us wanted to go, I mustard up the strength to drive in.  We did have 1 underage person with us, 16 in fact, and we thought it might be an issue, but it wasn't- thank goodness.

After we finally got to the brewery, the sign said, 'No brewery tours today'. Bummer. The only information on their website was that they had tours every Saturday. At least a brewery tour would have kept the elders interested. So instead we sat around and sampled some of their fine beers on tap: Blast & Backbreaker. They also had their Winter Ale and Pennant Ale on draft, but we stuck with the other two beers.
Blast is an Imperial IPA and 8%. It poured into my beautiful plastic cup, an orange honey yellow. It smelled like citrus, pineapple, floral and a little malty. It tasted like cereal malts at first, then piney citrus hops then a bitter and dry finish. It was a bit on the thin side but definitely a good one to drink on a rainy day.

Backbreaker is an English Strong Ale and 7%. It poured a dark amber into my plastic cup. It smelled of caramelized malts, toffee, caramel with some piney hops. It tasted like sweet roasted malts, citrus hops, caramel, some dark fruits and a toffee finish. It was definitely sweeter than I was expecting but again, a good beer to try when you are trying to keep everyone happy.

So while 1/2 of us were enjoying ourselves and the other 1/2 was cranky and definitely not thrilled with the idea of us just sitting there and enjoying our beers, we realized we could order pizza from close by. At least that kept the others busy while we were drinking.

Then the pizza was done, we still wanted to hang out and drink some beers (we did just come from California and Maryland after all) but others in our group did not think this idea was too grand. Out of nowhere and to our rescue, Jeff Wells comes up to us and says he is going to give an impromptu tour of the brew room. YEAH! All of us interested rushed out of our seats and into the back room. He told us about the history of the brewery, their contribution to being a green company and using wind power and a bit about the process of making beer for those that don't know. Then afterwards I spotted just 1 barrel and asked what was aging in it- Black OPs!  That wasn't even for sale there anymore but Dave just managed to find 2 bottles a few days prior- score!

Then our lovely tour was over and we still wanted to hang out. So finally our group split and we hung out in the brewery for another hour or so before we did some shopping and eating in the 'burg. We did look at their lovely historical bottle collection- with many from before prohibition. Then we went home since it was still rainy out and went to drink some more beer and play some wii.

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