It may be the dead of winter, but there’s a lot to be excited about here in New York because we’ve partnered with a Brooklyn favorite to keep you warm this February. Hale and Hearty is launching their first ever beer and cheese soup this month and it’s made with our very own Coney Island Lager!
Hale and Hearty opened their first storefront on 64th and Lexington in Manhattan 20 years ago and to this day makes fresh soup daily from scratch using local ingredients in their own kitchen. They invited us down to the commissary in Bushwick where all the magic happens and we brought together our head brewer Eric Hernandez and Hale & Hearty’s founder and head chef Bruce Rogers to talk about how the delicious Coney Island Lager and Cheddar soup came to life.
Turns out, there are a lot of similarities in brewing beer and making soup. If you missed our visit live on Instagram last week, check out the interview below!
So Bruce, I heard you’re a Brooklyn boy, tell us more!
Bruce: Yes I grew up all over Brooklyn. Flatbush, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights. I have a lot of memories of Coney Island, it was kind of an oasis for me as a kid growing up and when we would skip school. It’s where I got my first taste of Nathan’s.
When did you decide to create a beer and cheese soup, and why Coney Island?
Bruce: I’ve been trying for over two years. We tried a number of different breweries and beer, but none of them had as good a flavor and paired as well as the Coney Island Lager. They would just come out too bitter.
And why do you think our lager works so well in the soup, Eric?
Eric: In our Coney Island Lager the hops are low alpha and more aromatic and there’s a fair amount of unfermentable sugar left over. This creates a smoother body and a fuller mouthfeel which sounds like is just what Bruce was looking for.
Let’s talk innovation. How do you come up with a new flavor or soup idea?
Bruce: The soups that come out best are the ones that are generated organically. It takes shape in my head first – if I can see it in my head, I can make it. There are some soups that are in my head and I have to make it because I cant think of anything else. The farmers market drives a lot of inspiration, as I try to cook with ingredients that are ripe and in their season. I can tell within 15 minutes if a soup is going to be successful or not.
And what about beer?
Eric: A lot of times I don’t consider style going into creating a new brew. Much like Bruce I’ll have an idea I can’t get out of my head, like our Hot Toddy Ale and Brunch Beer, and I’ll work out how to turn that idea into a beer. For inspiration, I find a way to connect to Coney Island and New York in general before moving forward. It’s important for the beer to have a story behind it, as it helps connect our drinkers with our home.
For the Coney Island Lager & Cheddar soup, why the addition of Kielbasa?
Bruce: What’s better than a hot a dog in a Coney Island inspired beer? We stepped up our game with Kielbasa. It’s a perfect pair, beer, cheese and Kielbasa.
And finally, tell us in a couple words what one can expect when trying Coney Island Lager and Cheddar Soup
Bruce: Warmth and comfort, Depth of Flavor, Filling! It’s delicious and satisfying.
Try it for yourself!
If you’re looking to fill your belly and warm your soul, make your way down to any Hale and Hearty with locations throughout NYC, Brooklyn & Long Island starting February 1st.
Find locations here: www.haleandhearty.com/locations
But don’t wait too long, this delicious collaboration will only be available until the end of the month!