Coney Island, Brooklyn

 

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Coney Island is the world famous beach resort and old school amusement park. It’s located on a peninsula in southwest Brooklyn.

It’s home of the original Nathans hot dog stand and of the Cyclones, a minor league baseball team.

During World War II it was the largest amusement area in the United States.

 

 

Bushwick Street Art

 

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During the lockdown their aren’t many opportunities to attend wine/cocktail tastings as those type of social events have been shut down.

In the morning I like to start the day with a walk for some air and sunshine, and during those walks I bring my camera along. One of those walks was in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Bushwick is a neighborhood in northeast Brooklyn bordering Queens. It’s very industrial neighborhood that at one time had multiple breweries,

After a period of decline the neighborhood came back as artists took advantage of the unused commercial spaces and set up shop. Local artists began leaving their make on the buildings and now the grafiti (street art) can be viewed in this open air museum.

 

 

Beer Bash Brooklyn

 

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New York City Beer Week began on Saturday, February 22nd. It was the start of 10 days of craft beer events with beer tastings, beer themed food pairings and seminars throughout the city.

The beer week kicked off with the Opening Bash on Saturday afternoon and evening. That event was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center, an event venue at 72 Noble Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s becoming a popular spot for hosting beer/wine/spirit events.

The opening bash was sponsored by the New York City Brewers Guild whose mission is to advance New York City’s brewing industry and thereby “lessen human misery”.

It was a huge event with 75+ breweries from New York City, New York State and from around the country pouring their beer to sample with all styles represented. There was even a brewery on hand from Sweden.

At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, there were so many breweries in New York that New York State was the largest grower of hops in the country. Prohibition brought that all to an end. The last couple of decades has seen a resurgence for the beer industry in New York City and Data from the State Liquor Authority (2018) had 41 breweries throughout the five boroughs.

With such a massive amount of beer to sample, I focused my efforts on sampling any beer that was out of the ordinary. For the most part on that night that meant sampling sour beers which were usually infused with all sorts of fruits and botanicals, and any beer that was aged in various barrels which included wine, whiskey and rum barrels. For a change of pace I sampled stouts which themselves were flavored with coffee, chocolate, coconut and vanilla to name a few of the ingredients used. Surprisingly, I could only find one cider company in the house.

Some of what sampled:

 

Mikkeller:Jammy Buggers” fruited sour ale.

KCBC: “Cosmic Zombie” barrel aged fruited sour ale with coffee.

Bronx Brewery: “Long Island” sour IPA, “Blacktop Stout” imperial stout.

Graft: “Lost Tropic” hop mimosa cider, “Book of Nomad” cabernet franc, black current cider.

Oxbow: “Pinkette” mixed fermented farmhouse ale with cherries

Grimm: “Purple Prose” Foeder fermented sour ale with black current and raspberries.

Icarus Brewing: “AW Raspberry” Barrel aged Russian imperial stout, “A Tale of Two Printers” Rye aged Russian imperial stout. 

Interboro: “Cocotaso” Rum barrel aged imperial stout. 

Collective Arts:Origin of Darkness” Barrel aged cannoli stout, blueberry sour with cocoa nibs. 

Fonta Flora Brewery: “Rhythm Rug” Appalachian wild ale conditioned on local organic strawberries.  

Killsboro:Gimme Gimme Blackberry Peach” Dessert sour.

Brooklyn Brewery: “Rosé de Ville” Spritz sour ale brewed with tart raspberry. 

Screaming Hill Farm Brewery: “Ol’ Barn” Sour series wildberry. 

Threes Brewing:Dare To Know” Fruit punch, rock candy, jamba juice medley, grapefruit essence. 

Widowmaker Brewing: “There’s No Wrong Way” Peanut butter stout. 

Monday Night Brewing: “Situational Ethics” Praline stout. 

Kent Falls Brewing Co.: “Non Linear Thought” Farmhouse pale ale with peaches and apricots. 

Amor Artis: Colonel stout.

 

 

Sake & Amaro

 

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I go to a lot of wine/spirit/cocktail events and I have different expectations for every event I go to. There are the events that are geared for industry professionals and non industry enthusiasts. They usually serve the higher end and eclectic spirits. Many are open to consumers and spirit neophytes and those tend to focus on quantity more than quality. But they are a good way for the neophyte to learn more about wine ands spirits and they usually make for a fun party. I’ve had my expectations met, I’ve had them exceeded and sometimes the event did not live up to my expectations.

I recently attended an event that was more the latter than the former. It was a “Best Of” beer and food event in Brooklyn. Buying a ticket gained you entrance into a spartan, bare bones industrial floor space with a handful of beer vendors and food vendors that you had to purchase food to sample. It didn’t keep my interest peaked for too long and I spent less time at the event than on the commute to get there.

Fortunately the event was held at Industry City located at 36th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Industry Center is a complex of commercial buildings dating from the 1890’s that has been repurposed as a retail and commercial space. You can easily spend that day shopping, eating and drinking and when the weather is nice, relaxing in the outdoor spaces.  It’s also home to breweries and distilleries.

The Craft New York Act of 2014 eased the regulations for opening a brewery or distillery in New York State which has resulted in a boom of those businesses in the state especially if they use local agriculture to make their products. Distilleries and Breweries have opened once again in New York City.

In Industry City if you walk over to building 5/6 you’ll find a few and since I didn’t spend too much time at the beer and food event, I stopped by a couple to sample a few spirits.

 

Standard Wormwood Distillery

This distillery produces sprits and liquors using New York State grown ingredients particularly wormwood as a base. Wormwood was a formally banned ingredient traditionally use in the production of Absinthe. I had a flight of spirits/liquor which included a Rye, an Agave, an Amaro, an Apertivo and a Wermut (vermouth).

 

Brooklyn Kura

This is the State’s first Sake brewery. They make several craft Sake and serve them on tap in their minimalist tasting room complete with a view of the brewing vats in the background.

I had a glass of the Bluedoor Junmai which was described as “umani laden, rich, clean”.

 

Oldies Bar

Next door to the Sake bar, they have the largest selection of New York spirits in the city, in fact those are the only spirits they are allowed to serve. I had a craft old fashioned.

 

 

 

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Fest 2020

 

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The 10th annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival was held on Saturday January 18th.  It was a change of venue this year with the event moving from The Tunnel in Manhattan to the Brooklyn Expo Center at 72 Noble Street in Greenpoint.

The motto of the festival was “Brew it. Taste it. Sip it. Pork it”. It was an all afternoon event of “southern fried good time” consisting of whiskey, beer and BBQ. At the event there was a “Beast Cage” serving exotic meats and a “Shrine to Swine” for whole pork worship. Various seminars were held throughout the afternoon. 

Since this is one of the only real BBQ events in the city, the impending snowstorm didn’t stop the barbecue connoisseurs from lining up outside the venue to get in. I was able to sample a wide range of ‘cue including ribs, brisket, pastrami, wings and pulled pork sliders.

It was an all-American whiskey list with most producers pouring a Bourbon and a Rye though I felt not as many as in past events. Craft beers and hard ciders rounded out the beverage list. I was able to attend the Bulleit seminar. My favorite whiskey of the afternoon was Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, it was bold and smooth. 

 

Producers I sampled from:

Bulleit Maker’s Mark
Elijah Craig Larceny
Four Roses Knob Creek
Basil Hayden’s Koval
George Dickel I.W. Harper
Deadwood Balcones

 

 

Pizza & Prosecco In Bushwick

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The Prosecco DOC Consortium wrapped up Prosecco week with a Prosecco and pizza garden party held at Roberta’s restaurant at 261 Moore Street in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The consortium is an organization which coordinates and manages Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controlatta, the controlled designation of origin).

The Consortium showcased Italy’s most popular sparking wine and Roberta’s, which has been ranked as one of the best pies in the country, provided the pizza so it was a perfect match.

The industrial area of Bushwick has been one of the last neighborhoods in New York City to be homesteaded, its empty, industry rich infrastructure given new life with trendy restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries to name a few. It’s also known for its street art (a.k.a. graffiti)

It was a nice warm afternoon for a garden party and about 10 different Prosecco were poured and though the line for the pizza was long, it was pretty tasty pizza.

 

Some of the Prosecco served:

Zonin

Villa Sandi

Mionetio

Carati 075 Millesimato

Ca’ di Rajo

La Marca

Astoria

Castello di Roncade

 

 

Brooklyn Wine Fest 2018

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On Saturday April 14th I attended the Brooklyn Wine Fest which was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center located at 72 Noble Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

The event was opened to the public and consisted of an afternoon and an evening tasting. I attended in the afternoon.

These wine fests follow pretty much the same standard template, plenty of nondescript wines, food stalls/food trucks, a few sponsored cocktail booths, a cider booth, a beer booth and live music. I would call these events more of a wine party than a serious tasting but on this warm Saturday afternoon, the venue was full of local hipsters enjoying the wine, food and dancing to the live music. None of the wines excited me so my go to drink of the afternoon was a Bombay Sapphire Negroni.

 

 

CiderFeast Brooklyn 2017

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Cider Week in New York was on October 20-29. It was a week of cider and cider themed events at various venues and restaurants across the city.

CiderFeast was held on Saturday afternoon on October 28th at The Brooklyn Kitchen, “a radical cooking school on a mission to teach people to cook like grown-ups”. It’s located at 100 Frost Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

CiderFeast was hosted by Edible Brooklyn magazine and presented by Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s Nº 43 restaurant who has run many food and spirit events.

It was a walk-around tasting of over 20 local and international ciders with a live band providing the music and some really excellent cheeses from Bardwell Farms, an artisan cheese producer from Vermont and from Murray’s cheese shop.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Angry Orchard (NY State). The usual mass-produced cider you get on tap at a bar, they also make small production unique ciders such as the trio that was served here: Understood in Motion 01, EDU and Wooden Sleeper.

Diner Brewing Co. (NY State). This guy brought a tub of bottles with no labels since they were all experimental ciders including one made with Miso. He also brought over some home-grown Sicilian figs.

Descendant Cider Co. (NY State). New York City’s first cider company located in Queens. They poured their limited reserve ciders: Descendant Dry, English Kills and Wilderness.

Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider (NY State). Some of their offerings included specialty unfiltered and bottled conditioned ciders such as The Last Blacksmith and Northern Spy.

Barrika (Spain). Basque cider, the guy who was pouring made a show of it by pouring the cider from a glass carafe while holding it high above the drinking glass. He was a hit.

Bembel With Care (Germany). In addition to straight cider they served ciders flavored with cola and cherry (kirsh). The German guy pouring liked to crush the empty cans and soon the table was full of crushed cans.

Black Duck Cidery Woody (NY State). This is their barrel fermented cider.

Others I sampled:

EZ Orchards Roman Beauty Cider (Oregon)

Urban Farm Fermentory wild fermented ciders (Maine).

Austin Eastciders (Texas)

Downeast Cider (Massachusetts)

Farnum Hill Cider Extra Dry (New Hampshire)

Aval (France)

Aspall Dry (England)

Craigies Cider Ballyhook Flyer (Ireland)

 

 

Toast Of Brooklyn

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On September 16th I Attended the 10th annual Toast of Brooklyn, “a global wine, food and art festival”.

This year the event was held at Restoration Plaza on 1360 Fulton Street, an outdoor event space in Bedford-Stuyvesant in central Brooklyn

It was an outdoor event and featured many international wines and a surprisingly huge selection of some very good high-end spirits. Aperitifs and cordials such as Campari, Aperol, Gran Marnier and many others, excellent rums such as a 21-year and a 25-year-old rum from Appleton, local whiskeys including Bourbons from Kings County Distillery, and even a watermelon infused vodka/tequila hybrid from Vodkila to name of few.

In addition to wine and spirits, there was a fashion show by Sonia Noel designs and a cooking demonstration from Vladimir Lebrun of Chef Indeed.

The weather was gorgeous and the venue never got overcrowded as some of these consumer events do at times. It made for nice late afternoon of strolling around the plaza grazing on wines and spirits.

 

 

The Big Glou

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This past week was Natural Wine Week in New York City and part of the festivities was the Big Glou wine fest held during the weekend. I had no idea what a glou was but apparently it’s French for gulp which is meant to say that these natural wines would be easy drinking, “gulpable” if you will.  I suppose they could have called the event “The Big Gulp” but that probably would have led to some legal issues with a certain convenience store chain.

The event was “New York’s first natural wine fair of its kind in the United States” inspired by European natural wine salons such as “Dive Boutille” in the Loire Valley and “Vini di Vignaioli” in Emilia-Romagna.  It was a two-day affair featuring over 100 natural wine producers pouring their wines and they are “artisan producers who are committed to farming sustainably and utilizing non-interventionist techniques in the cellar”. What is a natural wine is a bit murky but wines made with minimal technological intervention would be a good working definition. The event was open to the public was held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I attended the Sunday afternoon session.

The Big Glou was held at the Wythe Hotel located at 80 Wythe Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The hotel itself is an industrial waterfront area across the street from Brooklyn Brewery and Brooklyn Bowl. Nice space for a wine event, with a brick-lined rooms that gave the place a cave like atmosphere. It was  a popular event and the venue soon filled up with a decidedly young, flannel shirted wearing crowd.

 

Some of my highlights:

2014 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel “McFadden Farm” (Mendocino). Made with carbonic maceration, not a big Zin, medium red, cooked berries on the nose, light bodied but with good, earthy fruit, very drinkable.

2014 Dashe Cellars Carignane “Evangelho Vineyards” (Contra Costa).  From 125 year old vines, medium to dark red, Asian spices and black licorice on the nose, concentrated and silky, finished dropped a bit at the end but tasty.

2013 Dashe Cellars Ancient Vines “Bedrock Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley). From vines planted in 1888, about an equal blend of Zinfandel, Carignane and Mourvedre, medium red with dried herbs on the nose with bright earth fruit, silky finishing with big tannins.

2012 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel “Todd Bros. Ranch” (Alexander Valley). Dark red, warm cooked berries on the nose, chewy with some green stem notes at the end, firm with big fruit and big tannins.

2012 Dashe Cellars “The Comet” (Alexander Valley). Mostly Zinfandel with Petite Sirah and a dash of Carignane, dark black in color, roasted coffee on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit with slate notes, firm tannins and acids.

2014 Broc Cellars Valdiguié (Solano County). Minor variety from SouthWest France, in California used to be bottled as “Gamay”. Clear, medium red, closed nose of sweet fruit, moderate concentrating, light.

2014 Broc Cellars Zinfandel “Vine Starr” (Sonoma County). Medium red , nose of sweet dried herbs, tight with great attack at the beginning and smoothing out in the middle. Interesting wine

2014 Matassa “Romanissa Casot” (Languedoc). A Grenache blend, very light red, minty barnyard on the nose, very extracted fruit for the color, black licorice on the balanced finish.

2014 Matassa “Coume de L’Lolla” (Languedoc). A blend of Grenache and Macebeo, light red, sweet black cherry on the nose, chewy with chewy tannins at the end.

2014 Christine et Gilles Paris “Chiroubles” (Beaujolais). Medium red, crushed rocks, fresh rosemary on the nose, bright dark fruit and slate notes on the finish.

2014 Christine et Gilles Paris “Fleurie” (Beaujolais).  Cloudy dark red, black cherry, medicinal candy on the nose, black cherry on the balanced finish, good acidity.

Other producers sampled:

 

Domaine De L’Octaviin           Domaine Du Coulet

Monte Bernardi                     Castel Noarna

Ronchi Di Cialla                     Croci

Autour De L’Anne                  Domaine Jaulin-Plaisantin

Bodega Cauzon                     Domaine Du Moulin

Partida Creus                        Andrea Scovero