NYC Beer Week 2017 is finally upon us! With exclusive beer releases hitting taps across the boroughs from all the finest fermenters in New York, this week is shaping up to be one for the books. Each participating brewery was challenged to brew a SMASH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer, using ONLY 2-row barley malt and Cascade hops, sourced from local growers here in New York. Using such a limited ingredient bill is a challenge, but one that our Head Brewer, Eric Hernandez, was excited to take on. Read on to hear more from Eric himself:
What makes NYC Craft Beer Week great this year?
There are more breweries in New York City than there have been in years – 26 total – which creates a really exciting atmosphere of local innovation. Beer Week is just a great place for the brewing community to come together, share best practices and drink great beer.
What’s it like trying 26 different SMASH beers made with the same 2 core ingredients?
There is a lot of excitement surrounding what people come up with, given such a limited ingredient list. It’s surprising how creative people can be.
Talk to me about your own SMASH beer, “Infectious Smile.”
This is a recipe I have always wanted to try. It just so happens that the hops and the malt we were given were just what I was looking for. Adding lactobacillus to the kettle creates a really nice tart character that complements the flowery, grapefruit-like nature of Cascade hops. I aged the batch on staves of White American Oak, which provides a soothing vanilla and low tannic flavor to help mellow out the sourness in the finish.
How does working with local NY hops and malt – especially since New York is not known for growing them – influence your brewing?
Anytime you work with a new supplier you have to make some adjustments, but I was really excited about the quality of the ingredients we got. I look forward to using our local suppliers again for new beers in the future.
What are some differences between Overpass and Underpass IPA?
Underpass is a session style IPA using some flavorful new hop varieties, so it comes in with less alcohol than Overpass and has intense aromas of papaya, pineapple and rose blossoms. It’s also unfiltered, and brewed with some white wheat, so it pours a pale, hazy straw color, compared to the rich gold color and caramalt sweetness in our Overpass.
And what’s Siren’s Cry all about?
Siren’s Cry is just an interesting take on a classic Pilsner, using spices than people are perhaps used to in their beer. I brewed this one with thyme, honey and figs, which creates a complex, herbal and slightly fruity character.
New York Honey Stout was the first beer you ever brewed in Coney Island. Now it is set to be bottled and sold in six packs! What is it like to see your baby take flight?
I’m really excited to announce that New York Honey Stout will be our next seasonal release and will hit stores the first week of March. It’s very humbling, and great to see something that was popular at the brewery make it up to large scale production to share a little bit of Coney with a wider audience. (see the 6-pack!)
Find us at a #NYCBeerWeek event to try one of these limited releases!