Welcome to Beer UP: A (New!) Weekly Examination of, Well, Beer

Categories: Beer, Beer UP

Brooklyn Summer Ale.JPG
Eric Sundermann
The Brooklyn Summer Ale, found at Beloved
A quick Google search shows me that we live in a country with just fewer than 2,000 craft breweries. That's, uh, a lot of beer. Luckily, we here at Fork in the Road have enough time on our hands to drink as much of that beer as humanly possible, so that's our new mission. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Beer UP.

Every week, Beer UP will perform a detailed examination of one beer from one of the many fine craft breweries located across the country. The rubric will have four simple categories, which if you're familiar with the beer-reviewing community, are considered the standard: appearance, aroma, mouthfeel, and overall experience. Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to comment on the vast world of craft beers, and hopefully, with the help of you, create a discussion about what makes a good beer, why that's important, and what it all means, man.

To start, I went the easy route and chose a local seasonal favorite, Brooklyn Brewery's Summer Ale, which has been around for a couple years (but only canned since 2011!). I found a pint glass of it at a new bar in Greenpoint called Beloved for $6. Below are my findings:


Appearance: The Summer Ale pours a pale, blondish color that looks like a heftier version of your standard light beer, but gives off a welcoming, somewhat shiny reflection, as if to say: "Drink me! You must drink me!"

Aroma: Its distinct aroma smells tangy, almost citrus-like. Dare I say like an orange? Yes. It smells kind of like an orange. There's also a hearty wheat scent that lingers when you hold your nose over it for a while, but who does that?

Mouthfeel: It's a pretty easy drink. There's not a tremendous amount of carbonation, and the taste is similar to the aroma--hops-y, almost fruity. And even if you let it sit a little too long while you attempt to flirt with that much-more-attractive-than-you person who's waiting for his or her cocktail to be made (something, honey, I definitely didn't do the other night), it manages to hold its flavor.

Overall Experience: The bartender at Beloved told me that the Summer Ale is Brooklyn Brewery's second most popular beer in terms of sales, behind only its flagship brew, the Brooklyn Lager. The kicker is because it's a seasonal, it's only available four months out of the year. And after having a handful of Summer Ales, I see why this is the case. It not only goes down smooth, but its tangy, somewhat spicy taste makes it just, frankly, an overall feel-good and enjoyable experience, even if you're not a big beer person. I recommend you get yourself a pint, or pick up a six-pack, or bring it to your next barbecue (and invite me!), because I foresee myself losing count of the number of these I consume on a hot day this coming summer.

Follow me @ericsundy or send me an email at esundermann@villagevoice.com. To keep up with all our food coverage follow @ForkintheRoadvv.


Location Info

Map

Beloved

674 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

Brooklyn Brewery

79 N. 11th St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

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10 comments
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PQ Julie
PQ Julie

Cool on the new column!  You can find every craft brewery in NY and beyond (in the U.S. and Canada) at www.pubquest.com.  Over 2,800 brewery locations.  Cheers!

Michijo
Michijo

New York doesn't have craft beer. To get good craft beers, you have to go up to New England. Vermont for instance "Otter Creek Black IPA" or anything from Maine. All you have is Brooklyn Brewery.

Eric J. Sundermann
Eric J. Sundermann

I'll look for the Otter Creek Black IPA. Beer UP isn't strictly New York beers. We'll be enjoying them from all over the country!

Sheils
Sheils

NY doesn't have craft beer? What about Blue Point Brewery? Or Greenport Brewery,Long Ireland Beer Co.,Greenport Harbor Brewing,etc....The list goes on......

Rich Thatcher
Rich Thatcher

Looking upon the perceptions of New York,  one might not suspect there is actually a thriving beer & brewing culture here with tens of thousands of people supporting it. In fact, it's something that is happening all over the NY State (and the USA) as beer enthusiasts are becoming empowered by technology and capitalism to make better than they can buy.

Even Long Island, NY has a growing brewing culture with some of the great names in brewing that are gaining the beer world's respect and winning prizes: Great South Bay, Blind Bat, Barrier, Sixpoint, Kelso, Southampton Publick House, Greenport Harbor,  Port Jefferson Brewing, Ghost Cat, Long Ireland, Blue Point, and others.

For those still doubting there could be a craft beer culture in NY, there are some cool events coming up with Get Real, NY (www.grbfny.com) and The North Fork Craft Beer Festival in August. More immediately, LI Craft Beer Week is just finishing up with a flurry of events this weekend.

Big business doesn't mean artisans have been sent packing. In NY, it means there is a wealth of opportunity and a huge diversity of educated people to enjoy what is being brewed and crafted.

Michijo
Michijo

New York has too much big business to be craft-brewery friendly. Craft Brewing is almost a sort of artisan employment, and New York is not really artisan friendly, which is why you cant sell art in the park, and the Mustache Brewery is asking for monetary hand-outs to get started. The hipsters are mainly content to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. New England is very anti-capitalist agenda. For instance, there is only one McDondald's restaurant on the Portland peninsula in Maine, and it is pushed to the edge of the peninsula where no one will see it. However, Portland also has the first worker-owned (collective) restaurant on the east coast called Local Sprouts, which is right downtown.

Anon
Anon

I'm a fan of the Brooklyn beers (particularly the IPA and Brooklyn Lager) but I found the Summer Ale to be pretty bad. I understand the usefulness of a "lawn-mowing beer" (or do you say 'beach beer') but I don't see the need to spend 9 or 10 dollars for a six pack. I'd much rather spend half that amount on a six pack of Tecate... cheaper and tastier. Light, watery, not very much flavor... what is there to like about Brooklyn Summer Ale? Maybe it's more enjoyable on tap; I didn't care for the six pack I bought last year.

Eric J. Sundermann
Eric J. Sundermann

You know, I've heard similar complaints before, but maybe that's just coming from the cost? It's not a bad beer by any means, but yeah, I could see why spending 11 bucks on a six pack might be annoying. You should give it a shot from the tap. See what you think.

Craft Beer Coach
Craft Beer Coach

How about taste or "flavor"? Flavor and mouthfeel are not one and of the same. They are separate sections for beer eval per BJCP.

Eric J. Sundermann
Eric J. Sundermann

Oh, good point! I think that's a smart idea, and we'll make the change for next week. Thanks, coach!

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