Lions, Tigers, and Brews at the Central Park Zoo – June 19 & 20, 2015

Have you ever wanted to have a helles with a hyena [1]? How about a saison with a sea lion [2]? You’re in luck this summer when the Central Park Zoo hosts Lions, Tigers, and Brews.

More details at the site. From the press release:

On Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20, from 7:00-11:00 p.m., party-goers will sip on nearly 100 beer samples produced by 45 local and regional breweries including Shipyard Brewing Company, Rockaway Brewing Company, Victory Brewing Company and Sea Dog Brewing Co.

For all of the hungry, hungry hippos, notable New York City restaurants and food trucks will be on-site selling their best dishes. And DJs along with a roaming brass band will keep guests swingin’ from booth to booth. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their best animal-themed attire and enter the costume contests. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the event to the best group and individual.

The tour visited Chicago’s downtown Lincoln Park Zoo last year and has expanded to New York City for 2015. “We are thrilled to bring the first-ever public festival to the iconic Central Park Zoo,” says Kate Levenstien, founder of Cannonball Productions and Lions, Tigers and Brews. “I’m excited to see it come alive in New York — the ultimate concrete jungle!”

Early Bird General Admission is $49 per-person, which includes unlimited craft beer tastings, a souvenir beer glass and entry into the costume contest. GA ticket holders will gain entry to the zoo at 8:00pm. Early Bird VIP admission is $79 and includes 1-hour early entry at 7pm, unlimited beer samples, a souvenir beer glass, entry into the costume contest and access to the Tropics and Penguin Houses and Sea Lion Show. All attendees must be 21+.

To purchase tickets and learn more please visit

1. They don’t have a hyena, but they do have snow leopards which are generally considered much better drinking companions.
2. They do have sea lions.


7th Annual New York City Beer Week 2015: February 20 – March 1

NYC Beer Week 2015

It’s that time of year again. NYC Beer Week is a bit over a month away so get ready for a week plus of great local beer and rare beer from around the country and globe. If you have a favorite beer bar, you definitely want to be there on Friday, February 20 for Opening First Tap which features 100 rare beers at 100 bars. More details to come here, but check out for updates.

Details from the release:

“7th Annual New York City Beer Week”
February 20 – March 1, 2015

“Celebrate An Entire City of Craft Beer…”
With More Than 300 Beer Destinations in All 5 Boroughs
Participating in 10 Days of NYC Beer Week

New Attractions at NYC Beer Week 2015:

“Ruppert’s Cup” Featuring Craft Breweries Competing from All Around the Country,
“Opening First Tap” w/ 100 Rare Beers at 100 NYC Locations (Fri., Feb. 20 @ 7 pm),
“Opening Bash” w/ 30 NY State Breweries (Sat., Feb. 21; 1 pm – 5 pm), and Much More TBA!

New York, NYWednesday, October 29, 2014 — Following the incredibly successful fundraiser “Blocktoberfest”, the New York City Brewers Guild is thrilled to announce the “7th Annual New York City Beer Week 2015” taking place within all five boroughs from Friday, Feb. 20 – Sunday, March 1, 2015. New York City Beer Week 2015 brings together 20 of NYC’s premier Guild craft breweries, standout nationally and internationally renowned breweries, over 300 NYC beer destinations, celebrity chefs, and acclaimed restaurants for 10 days of craft beer madness. For up-to-date information, please visit:

Last year’s sold-out Opening Bash 2014 at Vanderbilt Hall (Grand Central Terminal) brought 800 craft beer enthusiasts together to experience NYC’s top breweries pouring the finest ales Gotham has to offer amidst the historic hall’s Beaux Arts grandeur. For 2015, the New York City Brewers Guild partners for the first time with the New York State Brewers Association. The Saturday, Feb. 21 afternoon session showcases new and rare releases from 20 Guild breweries and 10 NY State breweries, and local food vendors will be paired with each brewery. An official NYC Beer Week 2015 map will be distributed featuring an incredible array of events taking place at the City’s foremost bars, restaurants, and retailers throughout Beer Week. Following the Opening Bash, the Brewers Guild encourages patrons to go out and Celebrate An Entire City of Craft Beer! The location of the Opening Bash 2015 will be announced in the coming weeks.

Several new attractions are lining up for NYC Beer Week 2015, including the nationwide competition, “Ruppert’s Cup”, which is open to all craft breweries. The “People’s Choice” voting competition for the “Best Brewery @ NYC Beer Week” commences at the start of Beer Week, and the winner will be announced at the Closing Party (location TBA) on Sunday, March 1, 2015. In honor of Jacob Ruppert, Jr., the Brewers Guild resuscitates the Ruppert’s Cup that circulated around to different NYC breweries in the 1990’s vying for “Brewery of the Year”. A celebrated American brewer, US Congressman, and owner of the New York Yankees (1915 – 1939), Ruppert’s name will appear front-and-center on the newly designed trophy destined for one standout brewery. Participants are required to host a valued-added Beer Week event highlighting an extremely rare beer release or a Meet-the-Brewer event. Craft beer fans can cast as many votes as they like to get their favorite brewery to be a front-runner (votes are $5 a piece) on; all proceeds will be donated to NYC’s City Harvest.

“If they want to win the Ruppert’s Cup, breweries from around the country need to bring their A game,” says Kelly Taylor (President of the New York City Brewers Guild, Co-Founder/Brewer at KelSo Beer Company, Brewmaster at Heartland Brewery). “I know for sure the 20 Guild brewers will be hard at work representing NYC. It’s a very ‘New York’ kind of competition, to bring back this prized trophy and have a good ol’ fashion throw down to see who’s the best brewery at NYC Beer Week. I’ve done a lot of charity projects with City Harvest, most recently the Edible Ale event where we raised $10,000 by selling 10,000 hot dogs. February is a cold month, and a lot of people are in need of a hot meal. I’m sure every year moving forward we’ll have a different state take home the trophy. It’ll be a blast to see who wins it first!”

On Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, NYC Beer Week 2015 kicks-off with Opening First Tap, which features 100 rare beers at 100 NYC beer destinations. The singular collection includes craft beers you can only get in NYC that night. Breweries from around the world are encouraged to participate, and all beers will be tapped together at 7 pm.

About the NYCBG:
The mission of the New York City Brewers Guild is to advocate for and promote awareness of its local brewing members; to increase the visibility of local beers through innovative events, programming, and consumer education; and to foster a healthy, ethical, and growth-focused craft beer industry throughout the city. The New York City Brewers Guild is a 501[c]6 non-profit founded to advance New York City’s brewing industry — and thereby lessen human misery. The 7th Annual New York City Beer Week continues a beloved citywide celebration of the breadth of exceptional craft beers from around the region and around the world!

Guild breweries include Big Alice Brewing, Bridge and Tunnel Brewing, Bronx Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, City Island Brewery, Dyckman Beer Company, Eataly Birreria, Finback Brewery, Flagship Brewing, Grimm Artisanal Ales, Gun Hill Brewing Co., Harlem Brewing Co., Heartland Brewing Co., KelSo Beer Company, Other Half Brewing, Queens Brewery, Rockaway Brewing Company, Sixpoint Brewery, Transmitter Brewing, and 508 GastroBrewery (RIP).

For more information, please visit:

Learn to Homebrew Day 2014

IMG_7639Today is Learn to Hombrew Day, promoted by the American Homebrewer’s Association. If I wasn’t so lazy, I would have had a beer brewed for this and documented my steps and had some amazing (just trust me on this) pics and vids of the process. Since I’m lazy, I’m going to take the lazy way out and share some lessons and tools I’ve learned over about 10 batches of homebrew.

Lesson 1 – Consistency is your friend

From equipment to process to temperatures, being consistent is probably the most important thing to focus on when getting started brewing. Consistency is always fighting with New Equipment. Consistency is your OCD friend. New Equipment is your ADHD friend. Getting them to play nicely together is a challenge.So metal

When you first start out you have the basics to make beer. As you learn more and come to find what works and doesn’t work, you’ll inevitably add, remove, and change equipment. Every time you do, Consistency gets pissed (definitely in the American sense and most likely in the English sense).

Once you get to a point where New Equipment decides maybe you should take a break from each other Consistency will still be there waiting anxiously. She’ll help you brew better beer by having to focus on things like:

  • Recording every step of your recipe
  • Recording tasting notes
  • Recording as much data as you can
  • Documenting and following your process
  • Keeping everything in one system (see below for some tools for this)

Lesson 2 – Drinking during brew day impairs judgement

Hard truth. Turns out alcohol goes right to our friend Consistency’s head and brings out her alter ego, Variation. Variation will cause you to do things that hurt Consistency like:

  • Forget to take temperature readings
  • Forget to add specialty or late addition malts
  • Forget your wort is going to boil over if you don’t watch it (or better, use Fermcap)
  • Forget or mistime a hop additions
  • Forget to sanitize something
  • Forget your water additions
  • Forget to pitch your yeast
  • Forget to oxygenate your wort
  • Any just about any thing else that could reduce your chance of success

So, what do you do? Either don’t drink until you are done or limit yourself. Drinking a 11% Imperial Stout is a bad idea. Trust me.

Lesson 3 – Control fermentation temperature

Consistency is constantly harping on this, and with good reason. All other things being equal (which was Consistency’s yearbook quote), getting a control on fermentation temp will ensure quality beer. The early phases of fermentation are an orgy of biological and chemical magic and like all orgies it creates heat. If your fermentation temp rises too much you can get undesired or off flavors, depending on the yeast and temperature and what flavors are desired for the style of beer.

There are a few options for taming temp, ranging from simple and cheap to more complex and expensive. Invest the time and/or money to use one of the following:

  • Swamp cooler
  • Cool Brewing or other insulated bag with ice packs/frozen water bottles
  • Temp-controlled fridge/keezer
  • Temp-controlled fermenter

Even though you may have a spot for your fermenter with a constant temperature, holding the temp of your fermenting wort constant is the key. Can you make good and even great beer without doing this? Yes. Can you make consistently great beer? Unlikely.

Lesson 4 – Time is your friend

Time tells Consistency to RDWHAHB. Don’t try to rush things. This includes:

  • Your brew day
  • Fermentation time
  • Bottle or keg conditioning time
  • Giving up on a batch too soon

Some off flavors will mellow after time. Some beers will get better the longer they are conditioned. However, there are a few areas where you want to do things quickly: chilling your wort and drinking highly-hopped beers. Chilling your wort quickly will reduce the chance of off-flavors. Drinking your IPAs sooner than later will ensure you get the most out of your aroma hops.

Lesson 5 – Keep learning

As you brew more, learn more. Keep an eye on new equipment and techniques and keep a balance between keeping New Equipment and Consistency happy. Learn the science of beer so you know why things like temperature and time at various points in the process matter (or don’t). Experiment once you have your process down.


A non-exhaustive list.

Brewing Software/Tools

Forums/Community Sites


Note: Amazon affiliate links which help me support my beer habit.


Brewing is fun and easy. The tips above should help you dial things in and hopefully spark ideas about what to brew next or get you started in the first place. Cheers!

New York City Beer Week 2014: Feb 21 to Mar 2

New York City Beer Week 2014You can view the full schedule of events at the NYC Brewers Guild site. Some of my choices:

  • Saturday 2/22 – Urban Oyster’s NYC brewery tour – starts at Paulaner Brau Haus: Tour 4 NYC breweries for beer, knowledge, food and fun. Tickets.
  • Monday, 2/24 7pm – Bacon Nation Beer Dinner with Peter Kaminsky & Wandering Star Brewing – Jimmy’s No. 43: Because, bacon. A five-course beer dinner with bacon. Special guests include Chris Post and Alex Hall of Wandering Star, and featured beers also from Rockaway and Rushing Duck. Tickets.
  • Tuesday, 2/25 8pm – Cuzday – 508 GastrobreweryBecause 508 is great and Chris Cuzme is a nice guy (and great brewer) head to 508 for a special Cuzday with a series of collaborative beers on all six taps between brewer Chris Cuzme and local homebrewers. The six beers were brewed with Brooklyn Homebrew, Bitter & Esters, Pour Standards, The NYC Homebrewers Guild, The Brooklyn Brewsers and Brooklyn Brewshop. Cuzme performs on saxophone from 8 pm – 10 pm. Pay as you go.
  • Wednesday, 2/26 6:30pm – 8 pm – Books on Tap: The Craft of Writing about Craft Beer – The StrandYou’ve always wanted to drink beer in The Strand and this is your chance. Oh, also, you’ll get to hear about writing about craft beer from NYC’s best craft beer authors including Jeremy Cowan (proprietor of Shmaltz), Josh Bernstein (The Complete Beer Course and proprietor of many great Homebrew Tours), and John Hall (The American Craft Beer Cookbook). No tickets required, but space is likely limited.
  • Sunday, 3/3 12pm – 3pm – Closing Beer Brunch – Houston Hall: If you want to see a bunch of hungover brewers and beer fans in a huge beer hall that used to be an automotive garage, then this is for you. No tickets required from what I could tell.

Autographed Copies of The Complete Beer Course on Sale

So you’re sitting around coming down from the shopping high that is Cyber Monday and wanting one last fix, right? Yeah, that’s right, I know you are. So, what you should do is get yourself a signed copy of Josh Bernstein’s The Complete Beer Course.

The Complete Beer Course
The Complete Beer Course by Joshua M. Bernstein.
Photo credit: Christopher J. Scott

Why? As Josh puts it:

[…] a portion of every sale is earmarked for diapers for my daughter. She has an insatiable Huggies demand.

If that’s not enough (and it should be because what are you, some sort of monster that doesn’t like cute babies?) it is a great way to learn about beer, regardless of your level of knowledge. Don’t know the first thing about craft beer? You’ll learn so much that your friends will consider you the beer geek/douche in no time. Can’t remember the difference between a gose and a gueuze? You’ll be reminded and probably even learn something you didn’t know. Sounds like a win to me.

Disclaimer: Josh is not only a fine author but a fine friend.