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Drank That Local Sh*t: Blind Bat Brewery ThaiPA
The first collaboration between Blind Bat and New York Cork Report
Drank That Local Sh*t explores the nitty-gritty of Long Island-born beers consumed by Niko Krommydas—with assistance from their creators.
ThaiPA is the first collaboration between Blind Bat Brewery and Lenn Thompson, founder and editor of New York Cork Report. While a forthcoming series of beers was announced in 2012, born from a “mutual admiration for and dedication to local food, wine and beer,” explains Thompson, brewing for the project was delayed for two-plus years. This is partly due to an ongoing—and arduous—effort by Paul Dlugokencky, owner and brewmaster of Blind Bat, to relocate the brewery from his residence in Centerport to a commercial building.
ThaiPA is a pale ale brewed with four ingredients commonly used in Thai cuisine: Thai basil, lemon basil, lemongrass, and ginger. The basils were grown by Dlugokencky’s wife, Regina, at Seedsower Farm in Centerport (a trait of Blind Bat’s beerfolio, as Long Island Potato Stout, Hell Gate Golden Ale, and Honey & Basil Ale also feature Regina-planted schtuffs), and Mary Callanan, owner of Three Castles Garden in Westbury.
Blind Bat Brewery/ThaiPA
Format: Bottle (22oz)
Super Neat Descriptors: Spicey, Lemony, Herbal, Fruity
Paul Dlugokencky: Back in 2011, Lenn Thompson asked if I would be interested in brewing an IPA he had an idea for incorporating lemongrass and Thai basil called “ThaiPA.” Since Lenn had already had my Honey & Basil Ale, he knew I was comfortable brewing with basil. Crowded schedules—balancing the day job, brewing, and an ongoing hunt for a larger space for the brewery—as well as the search for the right hop delayed the inaugural brew for much longer than I should have allowed, but Lenn proved to be more than patient. Citra came to be the hop I was looking for, and a three-barrel batch was finally brewed in August.
The Citra hops, while contributing a calculated bitterness within the range of today’s IPAs, lend more of a tropical fruit character than the palate-punishing bitterness often sought for in contemporary IPAs. Local and organic Thai basil and lemon basil grown by my wife Regina at Seedsower Farm and her farmer friend, Mary Callanan, owner of Three Castles Garden, were added to the boil, along with lemongrass. Ginger was added post-primary fermentation. With the basils, lemongrass, and ginger, ThaiPA in my mind lands somewhere in a territory on its own, rather than as strictly either an IPA or an American pale ale. The offbeat spicing lends itself to pairing with a wide variety of foods, not just Thai cuisine. Regina especially enjoyed it with pizza.
Long Island + Sixpoint = Furever
Two Long Island collaborations at Sixpoint's Beer for Beasts on Saturday
I already purchased my ticket to Beer for Beasts on Saturday, but I must reiterate: I can’t attend the annual two-session event organized by Sixpoint and Beer Advocate, which has awesomely raised nearly $100,000 for the Humane Society of New York since 2011. Though I proudly paid to donate to the not-for-profit veterinary hospital and no-kill shelter, an iCloud of sorrow continues to linger over my brainspace, as I will regrettably miss 35 exclusive and peculiar beers from Sixpoint—including two with a connection to Long Island. I conveyed this quandary to my cat, Miles Davis, who, following a three-hour meditative loaf, recommended a potential remedy: revisit the source of bummedness with positivity.
I agreed to attempt his treatment, so I will shift focus to discuss the aforementioned pair.
The first is Boo’s Brew, a collaboration with the area’s chapter of Girls’ Pint Out, self-described as a “national craft beer organization for women.” There are 60 members in Long Island’s, founded by Lauri Spitz in 2011, including Julie Henken and Melissa Meier. Spitz, now co-owner of Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead, relinquished her presidency to the duo to focus on the two-barrel brewery in March.
“We were brainstorming awesome things to do to promote the group and I remembered that Lauri and Matt [Spitz] brewed with Sixpoint for last year’s event,” says Meier, referring to I Can Haz Orange Chocolate Milk Stout?. “I emailed Heather [Reynolds, brewer at Sixpoint] to start the process. She immediately signed on.”
Boo’s Brew isn’t the first collaboration involving Girls’ Pint Out on Long Island: HiHo Belgian Pale was made with BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant in April. The chapter desired “something feminine and related to kitties” for Beer for Beasts, says Meier, opting for a wheat beer with blueberries and lavender (the latter was sourced from Lavender by the Bay in East Marion). It’s named for Meier’s cat, Boo.
“We wanted a basic wheat base so the lavender and blueberry could shine and take center stage,” Henkin says. “We steeped the lavender after boiling, while blueberries were added during secondary fermentation. It should have some nice floral notes up front with some tartness to follow.”
(L-R) Adam Zuniga, brewer at Sixpoint, and Sean Redmond, brewer at Barrier Brewing Company. Image: Sean Redmond
While Boo’s Brew was hatched from furballs and cuteness, the event’s other Long Island-connected beer, Raining Beets, was inspired by a thrashy and tenebrous source: Slayer. A riff on the seminal metal band’s 1986 album, Reign in Blood, Raining Beets is a beet-infused collaboration between Sixpoint and Oceanside’s Barrier Brewing Company, owned by Evan Klein and Craig Frymark. Both started their beer careers at the Brooklyn-based brewery before re-teaming at their 30-barreler, opened by Klein in 2009. It was Sean Redmond, a brewer at Barrier, however, who visited their former home in Red Hook to make the blood-colored beer with Sixpoint’s Adam Zuniga. They’re homeboys.
“It’s a mix between a big blonde ale and a pale ale to let the beets shine both in flavor and color,” says Redmond. “We used beet juice in the whirlpool. It’s a good fermentable sugar probably with a sweet taste. Slayer was playing during the entire brewday. We’re both huge fans. It was a lotta fun.”
Boo’s Brew and Raining Beets will both pour at Beer for Beasts to benefit the Humane Society of New York. Tickets are available now.
Beer Sessions Radio: Breweries on the North Fork
Update Aug.22: Listen to this episode here.
Good Morning, Aquebogue! I was asked to organize a Long Island-themed episode of Heritage Radio Network’s weekly program, Beer Sessions Radio, which we pre-recorded during the last week of July. It airs today at 5 pm.
The host of Beer Sessions, Jimmy Carbone (also owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 in Manhattan), proposed gathering three breweries as guests for the show, so I chose to feature a thriving trio on the North Fork: Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Long Ireland Beer Company, and Moustache Brewing Company. While Blue Point Brewing Company still defines beermaking on Long Island, Greenport Harbor and Long Ireland are both prompting drinkers, by portfolio dopeness and continued growth, to travel east of the vaunted progenitor in Patchogue—to Greenport and Riverhead, respectively. This has helped establish a noteworthy scene on the 30-mile-long peninsula, one that, in my opinion, now deservedly includes Moustache in Riverhead.
Beer Sessions traditionally broadcasts live every Tuesday from Roberta’s in Brooklyn, but we recorded this episode at Greenport Harbor’s impressive and just-opened 13,000-square-foot facility in Peconic, which is highlighted by a 30-barrel brewhouse and 2,000-square-foot taproom (its original brewery and taproom, in Greenport, remains operational). We also drank—specifically Greenport Harbor’s #5, an anniversary-themed Belgian-style dubbel aged with tart cherries; Long Ireland’s newest release, Trinity IPA; and Moustache’s flagship, Everyman’s Porter.
Super Neat Drinking Tweets: Barrage Brewing Company Yada Yada Yada
Super Neat Drinking Tweets will attempt to decipher the beer-fueled babblings of Niko Krommydas on Twitter. This activity has replaced his former pastime during solitary late-night (or sunrise) sessions of brewdulgence: indecipherable singing and moshing to Paul Simon’s 1986 album, “Graceland.”
The first Drinking Tweet is traditionally an articulate statement devoid of guff. This is evident in the instance of Niko Krommydas’:
The complexity of Niko Krommydas is unparalleled. He is possibly referring to Snickers, the popular log-shaped, milk chocolate-enrobed candy containing nougat, peanuts, and caramel. If we more-explore to uncover the veritable essence of the Drinking Tweet, however, we can postulate that his beer was not Snickers, an alcohol-less food, but actually Barrage Brewing Company‘s Yada Yada Yada, a Snickers-infused brown ale.
Barrage, which opened in Farmingdale in January, created Yada Yada Yada for a Seinfeld-themed dinner at Morrison’s on May 19. The event featured five courses, each paired with a different beer from the one-barrel brewery.
“We were throwing around ideas of doing one beer based on a food from [Seinfeld]. Food was always a big component,” says Steve Pominski, owner and brewmaster. “We thought about Junior Mints or chocolate bobka, but we settled on Snickers. [’The Pledge Drive’] is one of my favorite episodes.”
“The Pledge Drive” is an episode from the iconic sitcom’s sixth season, which, simultaneous with other absurdly genius storylines, follows a new haute-monde method of Snickers-based consumption. “The Yada Yada,” a classic from the eighth season, furthermore, reveals the inspiration for the beer’s name. Both episodes shape the identity of an ale that, according to Pominski, is a “liquid Snickers bar. Chocolate. Peanuts. Caramel. It’s all there—aromatically and in the taste. It’s literally like someone smashed Snickers bars and liquified them and put them into a glass.”
That “someone” was Pominski. He chopped-smashed nearly five pounds of the candy, adding them to the beer during fermentation. The reception for the first batch was “insane,” he says, so a second batch was brewed and released in July. “People come in specifically for the ‘Snickers beer.’ It has its own life now,” he adds.
Steve Pominski, owner and brewmaster of Barrage Brewing Company. Image: Beer Loves Company
Yada Yada Yada is currently one of eight draft beers available at Barrage, which opened a tasting room with growlers and flights on July 19 (only growlers were filled at the brewery previously). It’s positioned near the entrance and features an oak-topped bar and hair-on cowhide-upholstered stools.
“You don’t have to stand around the brewery and wait for your growler to be filled,” Pominski says. “And a lot of people like to pet the stools. I don’t mind.”
Barrage Brewing Company is open on Friday, 4:30 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday-Sunday, 1pm to 5pm.
Great South Bay Revamps Beers for My Beard
The success of Niko Weisse, my #beerselfie, has prompted Great South Bay Brewery to revamp the concepts of several beers—and the new focus is my beard. The first revamp is Great South Bay’s summer seasonal, Blonde Ambition. Its new incarnation, Beard Ambition, will debut at undisclosed and nonexistent locations on Saturday, July 19. The label is below.
Great South Bay will host a parade prior to the release, starting in Brooklyn, where I currently reside, and ending at the brewery’s 13,000-square-foot home on Drexel Drive in Bay Shore. The route is roughly 65 miles. I will ride the length of the parade on a motorized cloud of existentialism. The motorcade will include miniature mechanical mermaids used in the 1953 film, Attack of the Coney Island Merbots, and Mom’s Plate. A performance by musical duo, Kid Break, will close the ceremony.
Beard Ambition will have the same recipe as Blonde Ambition, a light-bodied, pale-colored, apricoty-flavored ale, “but with much lower levels of estrogen,” says brewmaster Rick Sobotka. “There is something about Niko’s facial hair that empowers our customers unlike anything I have ever seen. The ancient Greeks believed in mystical powers embedded in the braids of their hair that gave them Zeus-like strength. We want every one of our beers to simulate this same stimulating feeling found in Niko’s beard.”
Niko Weisse was released on June 28. The brewery will follow Beard Ambition with other revamps released monthly, including: Straggly Haired Stout, formerly Snaggletooth Stout; Dirty Dude Greek Imperial Stout, formerly Dirty Deeds Russian Imperial Stout; and Massive Beard On A Fish IPA; formerly Massive IPA.
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