At the end of March, I was lucky enough to jet off to New York for the very first time. Whilst there, I saw all the usual sights – mainly tall buildings – but being a drinks bore, I wanted to squeeze in a couple of distilleries and breweries. And when in New York, there’s only one place to head to – Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn Brewery currently resides on the same site that founders Steve Hindy and Tom Potter rented from the Italian mafia back in the mid-nineties, having spent their formative years gypsy brewing. It’s an easy subway ride from Manhatten, followed by a 15 minute walk through one of the district’s quieter suburbs, which very welcome after the general business of New York city.
Steve Hindy learned to brew beer during a six-year stay in various (dry) Middle Eastern countries, whilst working as a journalist. Upon his return home, he quit his job and founded the brewery with his downstairs neighbour, Tom Potter.
The logo for Brooklyn Brewery has become one of the most recognisable pieces of branding in the craft beer industry, and rightly so, having been designed by Milton Glaser – the man best known as the creator of the logo for the I Love New York campaign.
I’ll admit that the tour was a bit basic. But I’ve done quite a few brewery tours and they’re all sort of the same, mainly because there’s very little to look at; with everything sealed away in tankers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t compare well to a distillery tour, where you can smell each part of the process and can literally feel the heat of the fermentation and distillation (yes, I might be slightly biased due to my employment history).
However, the tour was completely free and we were given a very quick overview of how two friends built up Brooklyn Brewery from a great idea to one America’s best known craft beer brands.
Now, here’s where things get interesting. On this side of the Atlantic, you’ll find Brooklyn Brewery’s standard (and very good) larger in most beers shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants. However, you’ll have to do a bit more digging to find anything else from the brewery.
That’s what made the bar in Brooklyn Brewery such a treat. The selection was big enough for me to really explore what the brewery has to offer, without feeling overwhelming. We only had two beers each (it was the afternoon and we still had plenty of exploring to do) but my top pick by far was the Defender IPA – the official beer of New York Comic Con.
One of New York’s finest, and if you find yourself in Brooklyn soon, be sure to swing by Brooklyn Brewery and prepare to by blown away by what American beer makers REALLY have to offer.
You can find out more about Brooklyn Brewery and when tours take place over on the brewery’s website.