A Belgian Beer Bash in the Big Apple

From the Producer, David Page: We attend a Belgian bottle share at one of New York's best craft beer bars.

I’m finishing up the episodes that will be dropping soon in Beer Geeks season three, working at the moment on our visit to the craft scene in New York City. I love New York. I was born in New York. I hate shooting in New York. Why? Because the logistics are impossible – you try getting from location to location in gridlocked traffic, then finding a free spot to unload massive amounts of gear, and then a place to park the truck. But in this case, it was well worth the hassle. New York is home to a vibrant craft beer community full of folks who know their stuff and we had a great time, which will soon be a fabulous episode.

The segment I’m working on right now is our visit to a bottle share event at the Barcade craft beer bar in Brooklyn. Barcade is a treat. A huge selection of great beers – at least two dozen on tap bat a time - and an array of classic arcade games. Sometimes you just want to combine a porter with some Pac man. And the event we attended there was fabulous.

Just as the name says, everyone brought a bottle (or several) of American made Belgian style ale. And all the bottles were there to be shared. Every Belgian style was represented – sours, quads, witbiers, you name it. And I was struck by the general level of beer knowledge – these folks really do know what they’re drinking and why it tastes the way it tastes (or should taste). They share an appreciation for the beauty of the Belgian style(s) and a love of bottle conditioning. And a passion for seemingly all other styles of craft beer as well.

Many, many of them are home brewers. One woman told us her focus for the day was a Brett hunt, tasting as many Brett beers as possible to aid her frame of reference as she grows her own Brettanomyces at home. Another attendee was in the real ale business. He told us the number of cask beer accounts in New York has jumped from 5 to 68 in the past decade or so. Another fellow we met had flown in from Israel for the event. He told us craft is growing there too, often using local ingredients like pomegranates. And, he said, there is even one farmer cultivating hops up north near the Syrian border (a different way to think of the Golan Heights).

Oh, and the beers. They were terrific. In many cases, they were magnificent. As was the camaraderie. Even in a city as big as New York, craft beer lovers are a community. And this community throws a hell of a party. You’ll see.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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