This stop-motion tour of Brooklyn is pretty cool. As a tribute to Brooklyn Brewery’s MASH tour, Landon Van Soest and Paul Trillo put this video together. Using over 3,000 images, this video manages to capture much of the essence of Brooklyn – the people, food, drink, culture and sights from the street – in about one minute. These filmmakers have a knack for slow motion shots in addition to stop motion video. Slowing down at all the right moments in the video (dust being blown off of a vinyl record; popcorn in the air in a theater), pausing for this video will put a little bit of Brooklyn in your day.
A few facts about beer:
- In ancient Babylonia, where the first beer was supposedly made, they took the sudsy stuff so seriously that if you made a bad batch, you’d be drowned.
- The Vikings’ version of heaven, Valhalla, was really a great meat and beer hall in the sky, complete with a giant goat whose udders spewed-you guessed it-beer.
- Light makes beer go bad, hence the reason one usually finds it in a tinted glass bottle. When exposed to prolonged light, beer gets a skunk-y smell (Corona, anyone?).
- The melody to the American national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner,” was taken from a beer drinking song. Seriously.
- Much of the corporate brewery beers from other countries that you might consume in the United States was either made in Canada or America.
[Record scratch across the heavens] Wait, what? That’s right. Big breweries don’t necessarily fall over themselves to keep this a secret. But they don’t exactly advertise it, either.I had never thought about this or the effects of travel on beer until I was recently at Hospoda, a Czech restaurant on New York’s Upper East Side. There was something about the taste of the Pilsner Urquell on draught was so…good. It was crisp and light yet the flavors were not muted, as is the case sometimes when I drink it on tap at other bars in North America. And then Lukas Svoboda, who is in charge of the beer at Hospoda, told me that restaurant is one of the few or only places in North America that has their Pilsner Urquell kegs shipped to them in air conditioned containers.
All the Pilsner Urquell one’s drinks in the world is made in Plzen, in western Bohemia. But almost none of it shipped with an air conditioning unit inside the shipping container. And that, apparently, makes all the difference.
Which is one reason why most of the big breweries open up localized breweries to make their beer. Like Japanese beers such as Kirin, Asahi, and Sapporo? It’s brewed in North America by Molson and Anhueser-Busch. Foster’s? Nope, that didn’t come from down under, but rather from up over: it’s made in Canada. The same goes for Beck’s, Heinekin, Bass, and many other “foreign” beers.
Which gives some incredulity when you see “imported” on some beer labels. It’s not lying; it’s imported. But likely from Canada.
I always liked drinking foreign beer at home because it gave me a taste of the world, a bit of travel on my palate, knowing it was made half a world away by guys (and gals) who toiled over the beer making process. But I guess I just failed to read the fine print on the back of the label that says it was made in a not-so-distant land.
I turned to beer expert and widely published writer, Evan Rail for an explanation. “Big industrial breweries usually have one reason for everything they do: to maximize profits,” said Rail who is the author of “Good Beer Guide: Prague & the Czech Republic,” and the Kindle singles “Why Beer Matters” and “In Praise of Hangovers.” “Beer is heavy. Shipping it can be really expensive. And shipping it under refrigeration – which a good beer really deserves – adds even more to the cost.”
But does it change the flavor? Does it destroy any sort of “terroir” that the beer would have had if it was still brewed in the land for which it originally hailed?
Rail says: not really. “Heineken, for example, really shouldn’t be any different when it is brewed in Canada: modern industrial brewing is so incredibly precise that the beer should taste almost exactly the same – at least within the occasional variations for the brew in its place of origin. This is more true for industrial lagers like Heineken and American Budweiser, which are relatively flavorless anyway.”
Interestingly, some previously smaller breweries are getting into the game. Brooklyn Brewery is building a facility in Sweden to make beer. San Diego’s Stone Brewery has been, according to Rail, trying to build a brewery in Europe for a few years now.
The best thing you can do, whether you’re home or traveling, is to drink whatever brew is made nearby.
Rail puts it nicely: “In terms of cost, taste and the environment, there’s really no substitute for drinking local beer.”
[Photo courtesy of firstname.lastname@example.org via Flickr]
Getting some beer in New York City would seem like a simple task. You walk into one of the city’s thousands of bars, grocery stores or bodegas and you’ll have a frosty beverage in your hand within seconds. But if you’re a true beer lover, any old lukewarm can of Pabst just isn’t going to cut it. Would you go out of your way for a great Belgian, a crazy-good craft beer or marvelous microbrew? Then New York’s the beer city for you.
New York City residents have been brewing beer for over 300 years, ever since the city was flooded with the stuff by beer-loving Dutch, Irish and German settlers. By the 19th Century the industry was thriving – Brooklyn alone had 45 beer makers and produced one fifth of all the nation’s beer. Remarkably by the 1970’s, the industry had all but dried up. Yet something is once again brewing in the Big Apple. The once dormant brewery industry is in the midst of a remarkable resurgence, and along with it has come a renewed passion among the city’s residents for the art of making and drinking truly great beer.
Whether you’re on the hunt for an exotic Belgian brew or your favorite American lager, in search of something local or thirsting for a taste of lands far away, you’ll find a beer for you in New York. Ready to visit some of the city’s most unique beer bars? Interested in taking a tour of Brooklyn brewing history? Grab yourself a glass – this week, Undiscovered New York is headed in search of New York’s best beer.
The Best Bars
When you’re thirsting for a really great beer, not just any old bar with a Bud in the cooler is going to cut it. You want a place that takes its beers seriously, perhaps with a little local culture thrown in for good measure. A good example would be the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Queens.This former Czech and Slovak social club oozes with local charm, great beer and a great summer beer garden to boot.
Meanwhile, Manhattan beer-lovers favor such spots as Vol de Nuit, a Belgian beer bar, Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village and The Room, a non-descript spot with a killer selection of suds. If you’re out in Brooklyn, head to bars like the rowdy Radegast, or the British-beer favorite Chip Shop on Atlantic Avenue.
Beer Breweries + Tours
Perhaps the idea of just drinking a few high-quality beers isn’t good enough? Fear not, New York also has some great beer tours that will take you inside the city’s most famous breweries, offer tastings and teach you about the New York’s illustrious beer history.
The first place to start is the Brooklyn Brewery – the now famous beer maker runs part of its operation in the Borough’s Greenpoint neighborhood. They offer 4 tours each Saturday and Sunday, tastings included. For a more in-depth look at Brooklyn’s brewing history, check out the team at Urban Oyster, who run the Brewed in Brooklyn Walking Tour. In addition to visiting the old Brewers’ Row in East Williamsburg, the tour also makes a stop at the Brooklyn Brewery. Sixpoint Craft Ales is another well-known Brooklyn brewer based in Red Hook. Though the brewers don’t have any formalized tour schedule, rumor has it passionate beer-lovers can email the company to inquire about brewery visits.
Beer Groups + Events
Not only is New York a great place to drink and learn about beer, it’s also host to plenty of beer focused events and tastings. Beer organizations like the New York City Beer Guide provide listings of some of the city’s best beer bars and breweries. They’ve also got a rundown of upcoming beer events.
If you happen to be coming to New York City this September, make sure to check out the 2nd annual NY Craft Beer Week, beer walks, special food and beer pairing menus and a beer speaker series.
Brooklyn remains one of the more fiercely independent places in all of New York City. Although the Borough was officially incorporated into the greater city in 1898, it has long-rivaled its more popular neighbor Manhattan across the river for the tallest buildings, the most impressive parks and museums and for the ingenuity of its residents.
One of the more visible artifacts of this competitive spirit and creativity is Brooklyn’s love affair with all things handcrafted, artisanal and one-of-a-kind. What is it about Brooklyn that makes it so creative exactly? Call it a symptom of the pride Brooklyn’s residents have for their unique brownstone neighborhoods. Or chalk it up to the high creativity of the area’s many transplants from around the world. But whether it’s made-from-scratch pickles, chocolate or beer, a lovingly crafted musical instrument or quirky piece of jewelry or hooded sweatshirt, the labors of Brooklyn refuse to be homogeneous.
And what about you, dear reader – are you looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or souvenir from your visit to the Big Apple? Does the prospect of some handcrafted beer make you thirsty? Perhaps some custom-made cologne, perfume or clothing is more your style? Grab the next subway out of Manhattan: this week’s edition of Undiscovered New York is handmade, straight from Brooklyn. Click below to read more.
They say smell is the sense most closely associated with memory – Brooklyn scent-makers at D.S. & Durga seem to have taken the idea to heart. The pair of budding smell-smiths have been producing small batch handmade colognes and perfumes since 2007, sourcing plant extracts, resins and oils from around the world. Stop by one of their Brooklyn retail outlets and pick up a custom made bottle for yourself.
While D.S. & Durga are playing around with notes of scent like citrus and ginger, the craftsmen at Sadowsky Guitars have a very different kind of note-making in mind. Though New York has a long history as a center for guitar-making companies, the team at Sadowsky operates out of a small store in Brooklyn. They have produced custom guitars, basses and audio products for such musicians as Adam Clayton from U2 and Lenny Kravitz. If it’s good enough for these accomplished axe-handlers, guitarists everywhere can bet there’s a custom guitar there waiting to built just for you.
When it comes to clothing, Brooklyn’s got a style all its own. Men and women alike swear by local clothing chain Brooklyn Industries. They stock a wide range of quirky bags, outerwear, t-shirts and dresses to suit the most discerning fashion-lovers. It’s gotten so popular you can now find retail outlets well beyond the chain’s Brooklyn home in locations as far away as Chicago and Portland.
If customization is your thing, look no further than Brooklyn favorite Neighborhoodies. The clothing chain, which lets customers design one-of-a-kind hooded sweatshirts and t-shirts emblazoned with personal messages and imagery, first got its start in this most creative of Boroughs. This isn’t your boring old iron-on we’re talking about here – the letters can be hand-stitched onto any clothing item and can include graphics like guns, monkeys and thunderbolts.
As was noted in a recent article by the New York Times, Brooklyn has become ground zero for one of the country’s most interesting and creative artisanal food scenes. Passionate foodies and chefs are making just about every kind of foodstuff imaginable from scratch, including items like chocolate, cheese and pickles.
But it doesn’t stop there – beer lovers should make sure to try out one of the Borough’s several local brews. Local favorites include Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery, where visitors can take a tour and to sample a few of their recent specialities, or the Brooklyn brewers at Sixpoint Craft Ales. Meanwhile, the small-batch pickle makers of Wheelhouse crank out seasonal experimental pickle flavors like Champagne Vinegar Spears as well as standbys including Big Bang Okra and Top Shelf Beets.