“Craft beer is made by traditional methods and all-natural ingredients — 100 percent malted barley; no corn, no rice, no preservatives, no chemicals,” Steve Hindy said. “The result is richer colored, richer flavored beers; the kind microbreweries produce.”
Hindy is a man who knows of what he speaks. In 1987, Hindy, a foreign correspondent, and Tom Potter, a banker, opened Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, N.Y. One year later, they turned out 1,000 barrels of beer. Today they produce 53,000 barrels a year.
And what beers they are.
There are two broad categories of beer — lager and ale. In the first category, Brooklyn Lager, based on an 1890 recipe, is Brooklyn Brewery’s best seller, accounting for more than half its production. Its fragrant hop aroma and brilliant amber color follow with a flavorful taste hinting at caramel. Brooklyn Pilsner, a lager made with lightly roasted malts, is deep gold in color, delicately floral on the nose and smooth on the palate.
While lagers are bottom-fermented at cooler temperatures, ales are top-fermented at warmer temperatures. Brooklyn Brown Ale, made from Hindy’s own recipe, is firm and full-bodied, rich and delicious. Saison de Brooklyn, an ale so distinctive in style and taste that the brewery is putting it in champagne bottles, is the color of Pilsner, complex in flavor, with a strongly individual character.
Among Brooklyn Brewery’s other beers are Brooklyn Pennant Ale, East India Pale Ale and Brooklyn Brown Ale, and seasonally, Monster Ale and Black Chocolate Stout (no, it is not made of chocolate).
America has always loved beer. In the 1890s, there were more than 2,000 breweries in the United States. But a funny thing happened to this zesty brew. Local breweries were swallowed by big ones. By 1970 the country had less than 40 breweries making more beer than ever, but at the expense of flavor, purity and character.
Eventually, microbreweries began a revolt by going back to the future, crafting beer as it was meant to be crafted — with barley, hops, yeast and water; that is all. Today, the country’s 400 microbreweries have proven that back to basics means back to taste.
79 N. 11th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
tel 718 486 7422
Tastings: Friday 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tours: Saturday noon to 5 p.m.
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