Brooklyn Brewery’s pale ale provides malty flavors

At one time, New York’s Brooklyn borough was a prominent brewing center in the United States. In 1900, it boasted 48 breweries and produced a large chunk of the country’s beer. But by the late 1970s, every single one of these breweries had shut its doors, succumbing to Prohibition followed by post-war poverty and the crippling decline of industry in the borough. The 1980s saw a slow revival of Brooklyn, with affluent newcomers and a resulting gentrification of many neighborhoods. However, the borough still lacked a brewery to call its own.

Acutely aware of this void, neighbors Steve Hindy and Tom Potter founded Brooklyn Brewery in 1984, and opened it four years later. Originally brewing all of its beer by contract with Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, N.Y., the pair acquired a former factory in the Williamsburg neighborhood and began brewing there. Although they still brewed most of their beers under contract in Utica, they began expanding the Brooklyn location in 2011 and have since quintupled capacity.

Hindy and Potter faced many obstacles in opening the brewery, including a struggle to acquire funding from wary investors. On October 19, 1987, just two weeks after they finally acquired their start-up capital of $300,000, the stock market crashed and investors lost interest in financing a risky brewing startup. Had they not reached their goal before the crash, there would likely be no Brooklyn Brewery today. Since then, beer has made resurgence in Brooklyn, with breweries like Sixpoint and Greenpoint Beer Works also setting up shop in the borough.

Current brewmaster Garrett Oliver originally studied filmmaking at Boston University before travelling throughout Europe. During his extensive travels, he garnered a taste for good beer and began home brewing upon his return to the U.S. Since joining Brooklyn in 1994, he has had a great influence on the company and is responsible for many of its award-winning brews. During that time, he become a prominent beer author and also happens to be an awesome chef, having written and spoken extensively on beer and food pairings.

Brooklyn Brewery has a beer commemorating the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 World Series win against the Yankees. Since I also enjoy relishing a Yankees loss, I decided to give this beer a shot. Brewed in the English Pale Ale style, I expected a slightly malty and mildly hoppy flavor profile. The beer pours a bright, clear copper color with a thin white head. Crisp malt aromas are evident on the nose, as is a soft, pleasant sweetness. Grain and biscuit flavors pervade and are backed up by mellow, floral hop notes. A smooth and buttery mouthfeel and lingering maltiness on the palate make this beer a pleasure to sip.

Overall, this is a somewhat surprisingly malt-forward brew displaying a nice depth of malt flavors not typical of a pale ale. It is a probably as close to an authentic English ale as can be found here, and its mellow character is warm and pleasant. If you are like me and enjoy grainy malt flavors in an ale, this one will certainly satisfy. Cheers!


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