On Thursday 7/19/12 Buddha Beer Bar held a special event featuring 11 different beers from Brooklyn Brewery. As a special treat for all those in attendance, brewmaster Garrett Oliver was present to chat about his beers. Having met and gotten to know him in the past, it was great to catch up with him about things going on at Brooklyn Brewery and in the craft beer world. Of course I filmed our conversation and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I should note that beyond the information shared in the above video Garrett shared lots of additional future plans for his newly expanded. Therefore, I advise that you visit the brewery’s website on a regular basis to stay up to date with current projects, beer releases, and events.
Blanche de Brooklyn (Witbier, 4.5% ABV): Having not heard of this now year round Brewmaster’s Reserve beer (tap only) before this event I was excited to try Brooklyn’s version of a Belgian witbier. It poured hazy straw in color with a thin white head with small bubbles. Upon taking a whiff I knew I’d like the taste because there was a good amount of spicy clove notes from the yeast i.e. I prefer spicier witbiers. In addition to the clove I picked up some lemon, wheat malt, bready notes. The taste followed the aroma quite well with a burst of lemon and clove notes leading to a sweet yet spicy finish. True to style this beer’s body was on the lighter side, but its balanced finish left me craving my next sip. If you like your witbiers on the spicier side like me, this is definitely a beer you should seek out. Rating: 8/10
The Companion (Wheatwine, 9% ABV): Released in September 2011 to celebrate Oxford University Press’s The Oxford Companion to Beer, “the most comprehensive book on beer ever published”, which Garrett Oliver was editor-in-chief of; this wheatwine was brewed with a variety of floor malted base and specialty malts and Domestic Willamette, German Perle, and Styrian Goldings hops. In the glass The Companion featured a beautiful light golden color with a thin off white head which left a fair amount of alcohol legs along my glass. At first the aroma which consisted of sweet caramel and toffee notes coupled with dark fruits such as plum and cherry. However, as I began to drink this beer I remembered that it had some age on it, which lent itself to the matured flavors that met my palate and at times reminded me of a scotch ale. In the finish I picked up a hint of the wheat malt, faint anise notes, and a touch of the remaining alcohol heat. Rating: 8/10
Black Chocolate Stout – 2008 vintage (Russian Imperial Stout, 10% ABV): As one of my go-to winter seasonals, this was the beer that I was most excited to try at this special event. True to style it poured with an opaque black body and was topped by a thick two finger khaki head. It’s aroma was quite different than more recent vintages in that it did not have as much fruity esters and amazed me with huge notes of dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, roasted malts, and espresso coffee. In the taste the espresso coffee and dark chocolate dominated and lingered into the beer’s long finish. As was expected, this beer was a sipper due to its full body which allowed me to savor it while I interviewed Garrett. Rating: 9/10
Monster Ale – 2011 vintage (English Barleywine, 10.8% ABV): As my final beer of the night I chose to get a 5oz pour of Brooklyn’s Fall seasonal barleywine. With a transparent amber color and a half finger off white head, its alcohol content lent itself to a fair amount of alcohol legs. In both the aroma and taste I picked up complex notes of nutty caramel and toffee along with some floral hops. What I liked most about this beer was its balance. Meaning, in the past I’ve tried older vintages (e.g. 2 year old bottles) and found them to be a bit sweet, but this vintage had just enough remaining hop character to lend balance and drinkability to the drinking experience. Rating: 7.5/10