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Brewing for the Food Book Fair @ The Wythe Hotel April 27, 2014 – ALTernative & MJ

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As mentioned previously, we will be pouring two home brewed beers during the Food Book Fair’s Pop Up Pub this Sunday, April 27 at The Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. When contacted by Eric Steen, the man behind the pub, he asked that all beers produced be inspired by the neighborhood surrounding the Wythe. Though only required to brew one beer, our research led us in a couple different directions and both ALTernative and MJ were born.

20140422-151821.jpgBefore the Williamsburg bridge was built and eventually opened in 1903, Williamsburg, Brooklyn was heavily populated by German immigrants. However, the bridge to Manhattan allowed for a huge influx of settlers and Williamsburg quickly became the most densely populated neighborhood in New York City. The once German area was now occupied by people of all backgrounds and a diverse culture began to form. Reading this reminded us of our recent trip to Düsseldorf and Cologne in Germany and how well they have used beer to preserve certain aspects of their history. Kölsch and Altbier breweries are among the most popular gathering points in each respective city and the recipes have gone unchanged for hundreds of years. ALTernative is our homage to traditional German culture, with a little outside influence. We brewed up an Altbier, making  a few tweaks to the recipe, then aged it in a new oak barrel which Kevin received as a birthday present from Alicia. The result is a malty, oak forward, German-esque beer with elements of other styles coming through. We’d imagine if you were able to drink Williamsburg in the early 1900’s, this is what it would taste like.

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If you were to drink Williamsburg today, it would definitely be on the wilder side with a smack of irony. And so MJ came about. We had been toying with the idea of making a light stout for awhile and this seemed like the perfect event to experiment for. In 1901 a factory was built on the Brooklyn waterfront. Many years later, that same building was transformed into the chic Wythe Hotel, the home of the Food Book Fair. If you had told one of those factory workers that in 100+ years people would be drinking “craft beer” in their place of employment, they probably would have thought you were nuts. We are sure they also would have asked “What’s so special about beer people make in their homes when there are perfectly good breweries around?”. The idea behind MJ is that multiple ideas and styles can exist in the same glass just like dichotomies are ever present in Brooklyn. In addition we were inspired by two (world famous) men named Michael Jackson. One, the King of Pop, the other, The Beer Hunter, are both sadly no longer with us. Think of MJ as a mashing of the two, which is how we created the label artwork, and a liquid tribute. At first glance, MJ looks like it could be a hefewiezen or weizenbock due to it’s golden, hazy body. However, when you smell and sip it you are immediately hit with dark, roasted notes that are likely to be found in a stout. Though the area near the Wythe now has a certain allure as being the “it” place to live, under the surface there is still that history of immigration, factory work and building the neighborhood from the ground up. Living next door to a young single girl working in Manhattan could be a Polish immigrant who worked in the factories of Brooklyn and hasn’t known any other home since he was a child. We see MJ as a blending of both old and new.

The concept of brewing a beer based on inspiration from a neighborhood was definitely new to us, but it was a really fun and interesting experience. We are eager to see how the beers turned out (though we may have snuck a taste or two) and serve them to the public and other home brewers. There are also several brews on the beer list that we are very excited to sample. Tickets are still available, so if you are free come say hi and drink some home brew. We can’t think off too many better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Brew Pub (Reprise) – Food Book Fair
April 27th at the Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY)
Tickets $30 (unlimited access to 25 different beers)
Session One 2 – 5pm Tickets
Session Two 6 – 9pm Tickets

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