Name: Brooklyn Brewery
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Type: Production brewery
Available in DC Market: Yes
What you need to know: Brewing since 1988, Brooklyn Brewery has carried the banner of craft beer for over 25 years. Brewmaster Garrett Oliver is one of the most recognizable individuals (and key contributors) to American craft brewing, and his talents extend beyond brewing and into writing (see: The Oxford Companion to Beer). Known best, perhaps, for their Lager, Brooklyn also produces beers like Black Chocolate Stout and Black Ops that are both delicious. Feel free to tweak their nose a little bit about their triumphant return to DC. After Jake Berg and Nick Rakowski's raising a ruckus last year about New York as a beer city (and Mr. Oliver's generous contributions to the dialogue that followed), we're happy to be hosting them here again.
Beer #1: Black Ops (Barrel-aged imperial stout / 10.5%)
In Their Own Words: "Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a strong stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. The myth is that this supposed “Black Ops” was then aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast. Presumably such a beer would raise a rich, fluffy dark brown head and it would combine chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like bourbon notes. A beer like that would be mighty nice, but it would be hard to make more than few cases – it could never be sold or released to the public. They say that the brewmaster revealed the beer to a few other people at the brewery only after it had been barreled. The rumor going around is that the brewery plans to drink the beer themselves over the holidays and give some to their family and friends. That’s what they say. But frankly, there’s no evidence for any of this. This beer is obviously a figment of people’s fervent imaginations. People tend to get loopy around the holidays. Everyone go home now – there’s nothing to see here."
Food Pairing: Sticky toffee pudding (Classic English dessert of brown sugar cake, dates and rich toffee.)
Our Thoughts: Black Ops was one of the first barrel-aged imperial stouts I ever had. Those smooth, rich chocolate and vanilla notes are easy to remember, even today. The concept of bottling flat and re-fermenting a stout with champagne yeast still impresses me even today. This beer packs a serious punch though, so be careful if you're going to hit up the Brooklyn Brewery booth multiple times. Drink too much Black Ops and you could wake up captured by, well, Black Ops.
Beer #2: Brooklyn Kriek (Lambic fruit beer / 10.3%)
In Their Own Words: This is the description of their "Jonge Kriek" ("young kriek"), as obtained from Ratebeer. "Brewed in September of 2012, our Jong Kriek (young Kriek) is based on our dark abbey ale, Local 2. We suffused it with whole cherries in barrels for five months, then re-fermented in the bottle with a blend of Champagne yeast and Brett."
Food Pairing: Smoked Bison and Pickled Plum on Savory Corn Financier
Our Thoughts: I assume that this is a more aged version of the "young kriek." Nearly two year old sour is a surefire way to make me happy, and this will definitely be on my must-try list. A 10+% fruit beer, I fear, has the potential to be cloying rather than capturing the essence of the fresh fruit (which for me is the hallmark of the best lambics). Still, the lure of Brettanomyces and cherries together will surely conquer my fears.
This profile is a part of the DCBeer.com SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.