The Homebrew Wife Brews Her First Batch

Hello! It’s Jessie, the homebrew wife here at The Pour Report, and I have some exciting news to share. I’ve brewed my first batch of beer!

Mashing In

The homebrew wife’s first mash!

Having been tangentially involved over the years, the thought of actually brewing up a batch of my own is a recent occurrence. I have attended various beer-centric events, gone on many a beercation, and chatted endlessly with Nick, but had mostly stayed out of the brewery. When I attended my first full national homebrewers conference in 2015, it was the history seminars that piqued most of my interest. Although I attended some of the more technical seminars, I did find them a bit over my head. So in preparation for Homebrew Con 2016, I decided to read Randy Mosher’s “Mastering Homebrew”. (Thanks for the book, Sarah!) Doing most of my reading while riding the subway to and from work, I found myself thinking over and over how much better the information would stick if I could get some hands-on experience. While I was able to conjure up images of Nick doing what Randy was describing, there’s nothing quite like getting your hands dirty. So it was decided that I was going to have my first brew day.

Going in, I knew that I wanted something light with a very low ABV (I’ve been “blessed” with wonky genes, which makes me a bit of a featherweight). And as I hold tart beers close to my heart, why not make one for my first brew? With my newly gained knowledge from Randy and some consultation from Nick, I put together my recipe (see below) with the hopes of creating a tart, crisp, and slightly fruity beer. You’ll see Clarity Ferm listed in my recipe. In addition to having poor drinking genes, I was also told about a year ago I have a gluten sensitivity. (No, the irony of a homebrew wife who doesn’t do well with either alcohol or gluten is not lost on me.) And since Nick has been wanting to play with Clarity Ferm but has not yet had the chance, we thought it fitting to use it in my beer.

With a date picked and ingredients ordered, a bit of nervousness started to set it. Headed into my first brew day, I had some minor concerns about how it would all play out the day of.
1) My complete and utter lack of culinary prowess: I can make a mean scrambled egg (and once made penne vodka from scratch), but that’s about where my capabilities max out. I’d like to think I have a pretty good feel for certain things, but I know for sure that I have zero instinct when it comes to cooking. As I have often said to Nick, I need “very explicit instructions” when in the kitchen (or in this case, the brewery).
2) Stepping into Nick’s domain: despite being both excited for me and very encouraging, I also know that Nick has very specific ways of doing things and a very high standard for everything that he does (as evidenced by his numerous accolades). The actual working together part of it didn’t really worry me (we’ve collaborated on various projects in the past); it was more about not living up to his very high brewing standards. Plus, I didn’t want to be responsible for breaking any of his equipment.
3) Lack of technical knowledge: while I had no problem conceptualizing the beer I wanted to brew, I wasn’t quite sure how I was actually going to get from recipe to fermented beverage. Luckily, my first brew day was going to be a tandem brew with Nick.

The brew day itself actually went remarkably smoothly (just one of the benefits of brewing with someone who knows what they’re doing!). Slightly flustered by the initial mise en place and set up of the brewery, the bulk of the brew day went pretty much according to plan. I have to admit I was a little surprised at how much down time there was (I’m looking at you, 90-minute boil). But it did feel like the cleaning of equipment was endless and, boy, that hot water sure is HOT (even through those Blichmann rubber gloves). But cleanliness is next to godliness and a must for any decent brewer.

A couple things of note about this beer in particular:
1) Mashing in high: because we started at such a low gravity (1.038), we mashed in at a higher than typical temperature (158°F) to try and keep the attenuation from being too high.
2) Tracking the mash: our initial mash pH was 5.3. Post boil, the wort was further acidified to pH 4.5 to prevent the lacto from enzymatically degrading the foam positive proteins. By Day 2, the lacto had acidified the wort to pH 3.24 and dropped the gravity to 1.019.
3) The fermentation schedule: pre acidification on Day 1 with the French Saison yeast + Clarity Ferm being pitched on Day 3. And to finish off the beer, three days sitting on one ounce of Galaxy hops post-fermentation.

Having survived my first brew day, I am now even more impressed with all of the homebrewers out there pursuing this hobby. Cheers and Happy Homebrewing!

Sun Shower Saison Recipe

Specifications:

Size: 3.25gal
Efficiency: 70%
Attenuation: 76%
Original Gravity: 1.038
Terminal Gravity: 1.009 (estimated)
Color: 3.18 SRM (estimated)

Alcohol: 3.93% ABV (estimated)
Bitterness: 0 IBU

Malt Bill:
4lb (76.2%) Weyermann Pilsner Malt
0.75lb (14.3%) Flaked Wheat
0.5lb (9.5%) Briess Cara-Pils Malt

Mash Profile:

158°F – 60m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
Added to mash:
4g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
2g Calcium Chloride

Hopping:
1oz Galaxy – secondary fermentation

Kettle Additions:
0.5tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15m
0.5tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10m

Yeast:
Wyeast 3711 French Saison
White Labs WLP672 Lacto Brevis

Additional Ingredients:
Clarity Ferm – added with yeast

Homebrew Con 2016 – Baltimore

Homebrew Con 2016 - One Motley Crew

One motley crew at Homebrew Con 2016.

It seems like only yesterday I was a doe-eyed, neophyte homebrewer enamored by the spectacle of the National Homebrewers Conference, my first being Bellevue in 2012. Four years, hundreds of batches, and four conferences later (I missed Grand Rapids in 2014), I’m only slightly less doe-eyed, but equally as enamored with what is undoubtedly the marquee event of the homebrew calendar.

For those unfamiliar, Homebrew Con is the annual conference hosted by the American Homebrewers Association. Every June, the conference lands in a different city for three days, bringing along with it over two thousand fanatic homebrewers ready to learn more about the hobby they love and to hang out with the community of people that makes the hobby so great. Conference days are generally spent in a variety of seminars, whereas social events keep you busy at night. In between, plenty of informal drinking happens via an abundantly stocked hospitality suite located in the middle of an exceptional trade show displaying the wares and gadgetry from different vendors around the country.

The Seminars

Charlie Papazian Giving a Slideshow

Charlie Papazian gave us a high-paced photographic tour through the last 30 years of homebrewing.

The seminars at Homebrew Con form the backbone of programming for the overall conference. In terms of content, the AHA seems to strive to address a broad spectrum of interests and levels of complexity, from beginner discussions about simple brewing techniques to highly technical overviews of contemporary research into brewing. At times, it was necessary to make difficult decisions about which seminars to attend; luckily, the AHA posts video recordings of all the seminars on their website.

Several seminars stood out for me this year:

Homebrew Bloggers Roundtable – The folks behind Brulosophy, Five Blades Brewing, Ales of the Riverwards, and A Ph.D in Beer gave a great talk about some of the issues surrounding some of the (bigger) homebrew blogs out there. Certainly inspired me to write more!

How and What to Brew With S. eubayanus – A tremendously interesting talk (and tasting) by Jared Spider about a fairly recently discovered species of yeast called S. eubayanus. Modern genetic sequencing has led us to believe that lager yeast (S. pastorianus) is actually a hybrid S. eubayanus and S. cerevisiae. There are tremendous implications in terms of what this means for the possibilities of creating new hybridized yeast without the need for genetic modification.

How to Fail at Starting a Brewery – Nicole Carrier from Throwback Brewery gave an amazingly insightful presentation on what it takes (beyond just good beer) to create a successful brewery. The need to differentiate beyond simply making great beer was driven home, as were her thoughts on creating a personal connection with customers and making them become strong advocates for your brand.

Unlocking the Genetic Code of Brewing Strains – Chris White teased the audience by previewing some of the scholarly research White Labs is conducting utilizing DNA sequencing of yeast. He let it slip that, genetically speaking, White Lab 001 and Wyeast 1056 are not the same strain of yeast—pretty cool stuff!

Pro Night (AKA Craft Beer Kickoff Party)

Pro Night kicks off the social event schedule with the pouring of beer from dozens of local breweries (along with a few non-locals, like Lagunitas and New Belgium). In general, this year’s beers were a bit…boring. With exception of a few, most beers fell firmly in the ‘okay’ to ‘good’ range with a number being flawed and dipping below the mediocre line. There were many breweries listed on the conference website that appeared to have cancelled, leaving a noticeable population of empty booths on the tasting floor. The lineup was lacking in terms of star power—with the exception of Adroit Theory Brewing Company whose line was the longest of the night, but whose beers, to my palate, were a bit overspiced. Hands down however, Kleinevriend, a dry-hopped, slightly sour, saison from Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, was an easy favorite and highlight of the night.

Club Night

The Golden Girls make a rare appearance at Homebrew Con 2016 Club Night

The Golden Girls make a rare appearance at Homebrew Con 2016 Club Night.

Without a doubt, the best night of the conference. Dozens of homebrew clubs bring their best beers to pour for their homebrew peers. The costumes, booths, and beer coalesce into a convivial and exuberant celebration of beer brewing. Club Night this year was outstanding. The quality of beers was great—I’d argue that they were better than the beers poured the night before at Pro Night. It was a bit of a blurry night, but I managed to scribble down my favorites as the night progressed. In no particular order:

  • Gueuze – NYC Homebrewers Guild
  • Czech Lager – Keystone
  • Red IPA – Lancaster County Brewers
  • Dark Mild – MASH
  • Cherry Pie Beer – Annihilated
  • Consecration Clone – South Shore Brew Club

Awards Banquet

Making some new friends at the Grand Banquet.

Making some new friends at the Grand Banquet.

The best part of the awards banquet are the friends you make in line and around your dinner table. This year was no different. We had a great time hanging out with brewers from around the country while enjoying some good beers, passable food, and watching the best homebrewers in the country step up to claim their medals from the second round of the National Homebrew Competition. This year I had a Cream Ale and Marzen in the competition, but didn’t manage to snag a medal. Maybe next year!

The Conference In Photos

Next year, Homebrew Con travels back to Minneapolis, MN. Hope to see you there!

Vienna Lager 5.0 Recipe and Review

Vienna LagerHow time flies! My apologies for the radio silence over the past two months. Between moving apartments, a trip to CBC, the announcement of a brewery that I’ve working on, and an awesome trip to Asheville, NC, things have been crazy! More information on all of those things to come, but in the meantime, here’s a quick post about my latest batch of Vienna Lager. Cheers!

It’s a little baffling to realize that this is the fifth iteration of Vienna Lager which I have brewed. Not only does this make me do a double take in terms of realizing how much I’ve brewed over the past 6.5 years (over 150 batches and counting), but also illustrates how much I love this style.

Considering the number of different batches I brew, the breadth of styles that I have attempted to master, and the period of time that a lager like this occupies my fermentation space, it speaks volumes about the amount of respect I give a humble beer like this.

In many ways, Vienna Lager is the perfect beer for my tastes. I find it somewhat intangible trying to pinpoint why I love this beer as much as I do. It circumvents reason and defies cogent prose, but the closest I can get to describing why I enjoy this beer so much has to do with malt’s ability to be delicate and nuanced, while maintaining a quenching minimalistic lager dryness and boundless sessionability.

Being the constant tinkerer that I am, I made a couple tweaks over previous versions of this beer. As time has progressed, I’ve consistently lowered the amount of crystal malt in this beer. This version eschews crystal malts completely, making the beer a pure expression of the high-quality German base malts of which it is solely comprised.

Vienna Lager 5.0 Recipe

Specifications:
Size: 3.25gal
Efficiency: 76%
Attenuation: 76.0%

Original Gravity: 1.052
Terminal Gravity: 1.013
Color: 13.35 SRM
Alcohol: 5.21% ABV
Bitterness: 23.0 IBUs

Malt Bill:
4lb (61.0%) Weyermann Vienna Malt
1lb (15.2%) Weyermann Pilsner Malt
1.5lb (22.9%) Weyermann Munich TYPE II
1oz (1.0%) Weyermann Carafa® TYPE II

Mash Profile:
144°F – 30m
151°F – 30m
170°F – 5m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
2g Gypsum (to mash)
4g Calcium Chloride (to mash)

Hopping:
42g Hallertauer Mittelfrüher (2.7% AA) – 60m

Kettle Additions:
0.5ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – 15m
0.5tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10m

Yeast:
White Labs WLP833 German Bock Lager – Decanted 2L Starter on Stir Plate

Tasting Notes:

Judged as 2015 BJCP Category 7A Vienna Lager.

Aroma (10/12):
Bready malt wafts from the glass accompanied by complimentary amounts of toasty crust and just a hint of toffee. There is some slight malt sweetness coming through on the nose. There isn’t any real apparent fermentation character, although there is a touch of grape-like fruitiness. It is unclear if this is a fermentation by-product or coming from the Munich malt. No apparent hop aroma.

Appearance (3/3):
Medium copper color with pristine clarity. Tightly spaced, off-white bubbles form a great foam cap which persists.

Flavor (17/20):
Beautifully balanced malt with nuanced layers of toasty malt and just a hint of caramel or toffee. The malt is balanced far more towards toasty and dry rather than sweet and caramel-rich. A touch of hop bitterness balances out the slight perception of sweetness attributed to the malt. Exceptionally clean lager fermentation with no hints of alcohol, ester, or diacetyl.

Mouthfeel (5/5):
Medium to medium-low bodied with moderate carbonation. Soft and round with no perceptible astringency.

Overall Impression (9/10):
This is a beautiful, clean malty beer without being overwhelmingly melanoidin-rich or overbearingly complex. The beer finishes clean and dry making it a crushable pint. Dropping out the crystal malt only seems to have enhanced the beer as the base malts are still capable of producing some perception of caramel flavors without any of the associated sweetness or contributions of unfermentable sugars. This beer is a great alternative to Octoberfest beers which offer a great malt richness, but can often be a touch overbearing in terms of fullness and alcohol.

Excellent (44/50)

Solera 2014 Review & 2015 Solera Recipe

2014 SoleraAfter slightly more than a year in a corny keg in the corner of my living room, my 2014 Solera beer was ready to produce its first round of finished beer. From the 5-gallon corny, I bottle conditioned 2.5 gallons of aged sour beer. On the same day, I topped the corny keg back up with 2.5 gallons of another batch which had already gone through its primary fermentation (recipe below). With this round of top-up beer, my goal was to steer the Solera towards a more traditional lambic-style wort while also inoculating the Solera with a more diverse culture that includes Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend as well as microbes grown up from Sante Adairius Cellarman. My goal is to produce more acidity in future pulls from the Solera.

2015 Solera Recipe:

Specifications:
Size: 3.25 gal
Efficiency: 74%
Attenuation: TBD (am expecting 90% +)

Original Gravity: 1.051
Terminal Gravity: 1.003 (projected)
Color: 4.06 SRM
Alcohol: 6.32% ABV (projected)
Bitterness: 0.0 IBUs

Malt Bill:
4 lb (61.5%) Dingemans Pilsner Malt
2.5 lb (38.5%) Briess Raw Wheat

Mash Profile:
With this recipe I completed a fairly complex turbid mash routine that involved taking the mash through a number of temperature steps. To get from 113 °F to 136 °F I used a simple hot water infusion. To get between the other steps, I pulled varying amounts of the thin portion of the mash, heated it to 185 °F, and then returned it back to the mash. The goal was to create a dextrinous wort that can provide abundant complex carbohydrates for an extended mixed-culture fermentation.

113 °F – 20m
136 °F – 5m
150 °F – 30m
162 °F – 5m
170 °F – 5m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
4g Gypsum (to mash)
2g Calcium Chloride (to mash)

Hopping:
2oz Aged Hops (0% AA) – 90 m

Kettle Additions:
0.5 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – 15 m
0.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10 m

Yeast:
1 Pack – WYeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend™
500 ml – Sante Adairius Grown up Culture

2014 Tasting Notes:

Judged as 2015 BJCP Category 28B. Mixed-Fermentation Sour Beer

Aroma (6/12):
Low to moderate lactic tartness on the nose, no real perception of acetic or other acids. There is a medium to medium-high peppery phenol accompanied by medium Brett aromatics reminiscent of hay, earth, and leather. There is a relatively strong, tart pie cherry Brett character, which is pretty nice. Some toasty malt hides behind the fermentation aromatics and features a touch of honey-like malt sweetness. At the very end there is a bit of rubbery phenol that isn’t particularly pleasant.

Appearance (0/3):
Deep gold with a light haze. No head whatsoever, although abundant fine bubbles rise from the glass. The head appears to be a casualty of the proteolytic lactic acid bacteria in the mixed culture.

Flavor (10/20):
The beer approaches the palate with a very lean and slightly toasty malt profile. Despite using aged hops that were labeled with 0% alpha acid, there is some definite low to medium hop bitterness that feels a bit out of place in the beer. Acid levels in the beer feel quite low compared to most commercial beers, exhibiting only a mildly acidic lactic tang. Overall the beers is quite mellow and austere. There are some biting phenolics on the finish that are a bit harsh.

Mouthfeel (1/5):
Very low body with a sharp carbonic bite. There are some tea-like astringent components that do not pair well with the sharp carbonation. The carbonation comes off almost soda-like.

Overall Impression (7/10):
In general, this beer comes off quite simplistic, especially considering the complexity of its fermentation and aging. The overall acidity levels could certainly be increased to round out the mouthfeel and bring another layer of complexity to the beer. As it sits now, it is primarily a showcase for Brettanomyces in both a pleasant sense (pie cherries) and negative sense (harsh phenolics).

Good (24/50)

Northern New Jersey Brewery Tour

NJ Map

Day trippin’ to three of northern New Jersey’s finest craft breweries: Kane, Carton, and Magnify Brewing Companies.

With the veritable explosion of craft breweries opening in NYC, any craft beer geek could be happily satiated blowing their beer tourism payload traveling the five boroughs enjoying all of the new offerings the city has to offer. That said, the surrounding areas around NYC are also booming with new breweries equally as exciting as anything happening in the city. Northern New Jersey is just one of these regional hot beds, offering a decidedly different experience than in the city. Chasing beer among the crowds of NYC can frankly be a bit tiring. Going out to New Jersey was a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of NYC.

Recently, I had the chance to spend an afternoon touring three of New Jersey’s finest breweries: Kane Brewing Company, Carton Brewing Company, and Magnify Brewing Company. With a little advanced planning, it is an enjoyable day trip from any part of NYC.

Kane Brewing Company

Kane Brewing Company

Valentine’s Day with the Homebrew Wife.

Our first stop of the day was Kane Brewing Company in Ocean, NJ. The Homebrew Wife and I hit the road early, leaving Brooklyn behind and escaping with little to no traffic via the Verrazano Bridge and Staten Island. With Kane just over an hour away, we had a bit of time to kill since the brewery didn’t open until noon. We happily spent the extra time fortifying ourselves with a breakfast of Pork Roll sandwiches at Frank’s Deli in Asbury Park. Starting our day with the quintessential New Jersey processed meat proved to be just the right beginning for a busy day of brewery hopping.

We arrived at Kane just as they were opening. Situated in a nondescript industrial park, the exterior barely hinted at the great beer inside. A tiny sign and the handful of patrons exiting cars empty growlers in hand were the only hints that you were arriving at a brewery. Coming into the building via a banal lobby better fit for the engineering office that shares space in the same building, we were greeted by a friendly staff and some great beers. We quickly made our way through the lobby past a small bar designed for quick growler fills and entered the actual brewery and main tasting room. The brewery itself was relatively compact with a large amount of the area dedicated to a tasting bar for flights and growler fills, as well as warehouse space with several picnic and standing tables.

We ordered a couple of tasting flights and spent some time relaxing in the warehouse space. Kane’s hoppy beers were among the best I’ve tasted coming out of the NYC area. My favorite by far was Head High, showcasing a very lean and dry malt character with lots of bright citrusy hops and a minimal level of bitterness.

Simplicity, Kane’s take on a Belgian Golden Strong ale was also great. The beer had a nice orange-like sweetness backed by a soft bready malt character and restrained Belgian yeast fermentation character showcasing fruity esters and minimal amount of peppery phenols.

Overhead, Kane’s Imperial IPA, felt like Head High on steroids. The hop flavor was huge, although it had a bit of an overly aggressive, grassy hop aroma with elements leaning towards the unpleasant vegetative / chlorophyll part of the hop spectrum. All of this was placed against a slightly sweet, and slightly boozy, malt backbone.

Carton Brewing Company

Carton Brewing CompanyWe headed north from Kane up the Jersey Shore to Carton Brewing Company in Highlands, NJ. Entering the ground floor of an old painted red brick building, we were immediately greeted by a staff member who checked our ID’s and then led us on (what we would soon learn to be) the requisite brewery tour as stipulated by New Jersey as a requirement for breweries wishing to offer beer tastings. The tour took us through the brewery, the history of the building, and the brewing operations at Carton Brewing before being letting us loose to an upstairs tasting room where our beer samples awaited.

The tasting room itself was rather compact and jammed with a mid-Sunday beer tasting crowd. We purchased a 6-sample flight to share, which was redeemed one-at-a-time with the tokens we were given. This was slightly problematic as the bar was pretty packed and waiting for single samples of beer quickly became a bit of a chore.

The beers at Carton were solid, seeming to focus on achieving a certain level of balance and quaffability rather than blowing out your taste buds with intense flavors.

Among my favorites were Boat Beer and Red Rye. Boat Beer was dry and quite bitter with a nice level of aromatic citrus-laden hops—although perhaps finishing a touch thin. Red Rye was the stand out for me, featuring a perfectly complementary balance of slightly sweet malt, peppery rye spice, followed by tangerine and grapefruit hop components. 077XX, Carton’s ‘West Coast inspired’ double IPA fell flat for me—overly sweet although it did deliver a nice punch of fruity hops.

Magnify Brewing Company

Magnify Brewing CompanyThe last stop on our New Jersey brewery tour was Magnify Brewing Company, situated about an hour north of Carton in Fairfield, NJ.

I was pretty excited to hit up Magnify since the brew kettle is currently manned by Erich Carrle, an old acquaintance that I met through our The Knights of Brooklyn Homebrewer’s Sentry, a club I occasionally frequent and which Erich was an active member of. Back before Erich was brewing great beers at Magnify, he was doing awesome funky beers on the homebrew scale and sharing them at club meetings. I was pretty excited to see how this would transfer to the pro scale at Magnify.

New Jersey seems to be filled with anonymous industrial parks and the one Magnify inhabits is no different. Once inside however, the company’s personality becomes apparent with a warm, pleasantly sized tasting room situated at the front end of what appeared to be a rather tightly planned brewery. Immediately adjacent to the taproom is a large wooden foudre hinting at the beer styles produced within. The tasting room itself was packed, but getting a drink and finding a spot to settle into was pretty easy.

The brewery feels like a family-run affair with warm friendly servers behind the bar. The tap list was eclectic and featured plenty of funky beers utilizing alternative yeasts and blending American hops into spin-offs of Belgian classics. Magnify was right up there with Kane as having my favorite beers of the day.

Unfortunately, it didn’t appear that Magnify served samplers so we limited our tastings to sharing three half pours of Magnify’s offerings. All three were really excellent and we could have easily spent more time here working through the brewery’s offerings had we the time (or liver capacity) to do so.

Flashbacks are Forever: this very approachable and tasty funky saison featured a mild level of acidity followed by brightly aromatic and fruity hops and moderate levels of Brett funk. Dry. Very drinkable. My favorite beer of the day.

Search Saison: just a touch of of sulfur on the nose, which volatilizes quickly. Perhaps just a hint of an enteric note. Peppery phenols and slightly herbal hops. Not as bright as Flashbacks, but still nice and dry and wonderfully drinkable.

Pollinator: fairly dank and aggressive with lots of piney resin character in the hops. A bit grassy. Very restrained bitterness with a light honey character on the finish. Again, well fermented and dry.

Things to Know Before Visiting New Jersey’s Craft Breweries

  1. You’re Going to Need a Car
    There really isn’t any way around the fact that you’re going to need auto transport from brewery to brewery. Public transit is something we take for advantage in the city, but really isn’t an option if you’re stopping at more than one brewery in the widespread outposts of New Jersey. Tied to the car is the inherent risk of driving while under the influence. Responsible consumption and planning accordingly cannot be overstated. On this trip, I limited myself to only a handful of small pours which were typically shared with my wife at each shop. We made sure to have a big meal before, drink plenty of water, and not finish any of the samples we received. Our cumulative consumption was well under a single beer at each stop, spread out over the course of about 5 hours. This kept us well below the point of even the faintest hint of a ‘buzz’ and confidently within legal limits.
  2. It’s a Bit of a Trek
    Everything on a map looks close. On the worst of days, getting in and out of the city can suck up massive quantities of time. We avoided this by leaving the city early and getting back late—effectively missing peak traffic times. Even with minimal traffic, it was still about an hour and fifteen minute drive from our apartment in Brooklyn to the southern most brewery, Kane.
  3. Tolls Add Up… Quick
    Seriously. Between bridges, tunnels, and turnpikes we spent well over $60 on tolls. Plan accordingly and bring cash and change if you don’t have an EZ Pass.
  4. Time Management is Key
    It’s important to research the hours of the taprooms you plan to visit. I went on a Sunday and all three taprooms I visited were open noon-5 pm. When factoring in travel time between breweries, it was important to keep an eye on the clock and heavily moderate the amount of sampling at each stop to ensure that we didn’t feel overly rushed and that we didn’t overconsume. Three breweries was really the maximum number I’d want to visit in the short time frame we were working with.