Sunday, September 13, 2009

NY Craft Beer Week

NY Craft Beer Week (September 11-20, 2009)
$$ (Passport, $35 + $2/beer - 20 beers for $75!)

2009 marks the second annual NY Craft Beer Week, a celebration of 162 craft beers from New York City and beyond - 71 breweries from 19 states! NY Craft Beer Week is great because all of these wonderful beers that can usually only be bought in special beer stores are available for mass consumption at your favorite local bar. 83 bars throughout New York’s five boroughs will be participating in NY Craft Beer 2009, and the best way to take advantage of this week is the “passport” - for $35, any of the 162 craft beers served can be purchased for just $2, along with a few other additional perks. This is a huge discount over New York’s regular, pricey drinks - only seven drinks over a week-and-a-half will have you break even!

The NY Craft Beer Week starts with the Gotham Cask Festival, but make sure you check out the website for a full list of events happening this week:

Gotham Cask Festival (September 11-13, 2009)
$$ ($20 buys about 6 half-pints of cask-conditioned beer)

The Gotham Cask Festival was this past weekend, but it’s a recurring part of NY Craft Beer Week and is a definite must if you love beer, want to learn more about it, or just like drinking things that taste good with people who are excited about them! Over the course of three days, over 60 kinds of cask-conditioned beer are served at three different bars - Swift Hibernian Lounge, Rattle 'n' Hum, and Jimmy’s No. 43.

This weekend, Jimmy’s, for instance, served 18 different firkins of ale, served in one of their anterior rooms where private tastings happen (admission - $20). Cask-conditioned ale is often called “real ale” - this unfiltered, unpasteurized beer is naturally carbonated by secondary fermentation. By definition, no additional carbonation is used to push these beers through their taps, like you would normally find in a regular bar; the casks at Jimmy’s use gravity to dispense beer through a tap hammered into the casks’ front. Also, cask-conditioned beer is meant to be served cool, but not chilled, at a temperature around 55° F. These two elements make the beer taste “warmer” and “flatter” than what most people are used to - that sounds pretty gross, but it actually tastes terrific. And it’s a great thing because it lets you notice all of the flavors that would be overlooked when you can only notice the cold bubbles.

The cask-conditioned beers are served as half- or full-pints. If you’re feeling ambitious, I’d recommend taking a group to one bar each night and getting enough half-pints so that you and your friends can taste them all (click “Read More” for a list of beers featured at Jimmy’s No. 43).

Descriptions of all beers can be found at

  1. Allagash “Black”
  2. BrewDog “Hardcore IPA”
  3. Brooklyn “Black Ops” 2008
  4. The Bruery “Trade Winds”
  5. Captain Lawrence “Freshchester Pale Ale”
  6. Captain Lawrence “NY3” (specially brewed for Beer Week!)
  7. Chelsea “Sunset Red”
  8. Chelsea “Ultimate Summer Ale”
  9. Clipper City “Hang Ten”
  10. Elysian “Dragonstooth Stout”
  11. Firestone Walker “Hemp Ale”
  12. Magic Hat “Roxy Rolles”
  13. River Horse “Hop Hazard”
  14. Sixpoint “Vienna Pale Ale with Chamomile” (festival special!)
  15. Sixpoint “Righteous Ale”
  16. Two Brothers “The Bitter End”
  17. Two Brothers “Cane and Ebel”
  18. CIDER: Farnum Hill “Extra Dry”


  1. i was there on saturday, it was awesome! i only had a couple different ones, but im going back next year and am gonna try them all!

  2. Too bad I won't be in NYC until the end of the month. :o( That sounds like a lot of fun.

  3. Hi Portia,

    I'll be bar crawling Thurs night around midtown if you want to join.