The Whisky X

The Whisky X is a Whisky “experience” promoting “whisky, music, food and style”. It’s a traveling whiskey and concert event stopping in Chicago, Austin, Denver and Las Vegas.

On September 10th the tour stopped in Brooklyn. It was held at Industry City which is a huge arts and entertainment center near the waterfront in Sunset Park featuring “eats, drinks and play”.

There were 60+ whiskies and cocktails to sample at the outdoor courtyard and indoors with a good selection of American whiskies, Irish whiskies, Scotch whiskies and for some reason, a table of rum. If you were in the mood for haircut with your whisky, there were a couple of barbers on hand to give you one.

Unlike most of these events there was a live band performing later in the evening. That band that evening was “Guster” and while I didn’t stick around for the concert, they did have an impressive collection of musical instruments on stage.

Some whiskies (and an outlier rum) that I sampled:

Calumet: small batch blend, straight bourbon, 15yr bourbonHudson Whiskey NY: Do the rye thing, bright lights big bourbon
Blackened: Kentucky straight rye, whisky blendWoodinville: 100% Rye, straight bourbon
Roe & Co: Irish whiskeyThe Irishman: Single malt
Busker: Single grain Irish whiskeyTeeling: Single batch Irish whiskey
McConnel“s: Irish WhiskeyJim Beam: Kentucky straight bourbon
Basi Hayden’s: Kentucky straight bourbonKnob Creek: Kentucky straight bourbon
Whistle Pig: Piggy back 6yrClyde May’s: Straight rye, straight bourbon
Gosling’s: Old rum, papa sealLegent: Bourbon

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Fest 2021

On July 31st and August 1st, the 11th annual Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival was held in Brooklyn at the Expo Center, a venue space located at 72 Noble Street in Greenpoint.

It’s a year long traveling BBQ festival with tour dates in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and of course, Brooklyn, New York.

It’s a big party with pitmasters cooking up their specialties with an abundance of whiskey, beer, cider and a lot of hard seltzer which seems to be the new spirit trend in the country this year.

The even was held on Saturday afternoon and evening and on Sunday afternoon. I attended the Saturday afternoon session because the afternoon sessions are usually less crowded and more manageable than the evening sessions and at that time they haven’t run out of any particular spirit.

There was an outdoor seating area with vendors, games and a DJ that quickly filled up with people relaxing with their whisky and cigars.

I did attend a seminar for Garrison Brothers whiskey from Texas. At the event there was a nice selection of American whiskey and local beers and as I mentioned, a larger than usual selection of hard seltzer.

If one thing stood out for me at the event was that I was a little disappointed in the food served compare to the last time I went to this event in January of 2020. Maybe some of the pitmasters were still jittery about traveling

Some of the Whiskey I sampled:

George Dickel: 8yr sour mash, 12yr sour mash

Four Roses: Small Batch, Single Barrell

Virginia Distilling Co.: Single Malt Whisky

Balcone’s: Texas 100°, True Blue 100°, Lineage

Evan Williams: 1783

Markers Mark: Cask Strength, 46, 101 Limited Release

Basil Hayden’s: Straight Bourbon

Knob Creek: 15yr Bourbon, Kentucky Straight Rye

Excelsior: NY Straight Rye

Coppersea: NY Straight Rye Malt Whisky

Brisket King 2021

On April 21st I attended the 9th edition of Brisket King NYC. It was another food event presented by Jimmy Carbone and Food Karma Project which are responsible for many fun foodie events including Pig Island, Pozole & Mezcal and CiderFeast.

The event was held at Pig Beach, a BBQ restaurant located at 480 Union Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn with an outdoor patio overlooking the beautiful Gowanus canal.

This BBQ event focused not surprisingly, on Brisket which is one of the least tender cuts of beef. That means low and slow is the way to go.

All the pitmasters had their own proprietary spice rub that they used on their Brisket. A couple of interesting outliers were a “Jewish Style” brisket stew and a brisket sandwich made with donuts instead of bread. Surprisingly it worked well since the sweetness of the donuts paired well with the rich fattiness of the brisket.

On this chilly Spring afternoon, storm clouds looked like they might pour down rain on the outdoor event but the BBQ gods smiled down upon us and the event went on rain free with plenty of people enjoying food, drink and good company.

Participants

Avellino Family BBQCentral City BBQ
Blue SmokeChef Jesse Concepts
Carlitos TacosFriends of Firefighters
Juicy Lucy BBQHill Country BBQ
PulkiesSmokehouse Tailgate Grill

Beer & Cider

Bronx BreweryIndian Ladder Farms
Austin EastcidersRomily

Spirits

Knob CreakJim Beam
LaphroaigOld Overholt
Bowmore

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.