After a few days in Manhattan we went east to deepest Bed-Stuy to visit Emma, one of my oldest friends, who lives there. She took us on a tour to her old stomping grounds in Williamsburg, which included a stroll by the renowned Brooklyn Brewery, whose wares I was trying my best to sample as much as possible.
I was very pleased to see that something I’ve been saying quite a lot recently was also painted on there wall of the brewery and attributed to American poet John Ciardi: “Fermentation and civilization are inseparable.” Yep. As mankind began to settle, and leave behind hunter-gathering, and build, it also began to ferment: honey for mead, grapes for wine, and of course grains for bread and beer. (Never mind all the rest: from yogurt to sauerkraut.) Our relationship with yeasts, etc, helps give paramters to our history.
We didn’t try to rush around all the borough’s best beer bars, but we did enjoy some pleasant brews. Well, I did; Emma insists on drinking industrial Pilsner, for her sins.
During a day or so I managed to try several of Brooklyn Brewery’s beers, and very much enjoyed their Brown Ale and IPA. The most interesting beer we had, though, was probably when we went to collect some pizza from Saranghina, a great place in Bed-Stuy (435 Halsey St, NY 11233).
We got talking to Bryan (Brian?), the guy on the bar, and I kinda regretted my dedication to trying to be a Brooklyn beer locavore. All they had was the Brooklyn Lager, which was pleasant as lagers go but no great shakes. Instead, the best beer they had was a fascinating brew from Germany called… I don’t know what. I didn’t have my notepad, didn’t write in the phone and can’t for the life of me read the daffy German font on the bottle’s label.
Bryan explained it was put in the lagering tunnels and left uncovered, allowing further fermentation with wild yeasts. It’s then bottled or casked unfiltered and unpasteurised and is rich in B vitamins (from the yeast).
It really was nothing like any other German beers I’ve ever tried, a little malty, but also sharp, and a tad sour. Even Emma liked it.
Thankfully, with Fran’s patient deduction and the power of Google, we’ve found it again. It’s from Mahrs Bräu in Bamberger and it’s called Kellerbier (which I’m assuming means “cellar beer”) Ungespundet Hefetrüb (which I’m going to ask my German-speaking dad to have a crack at translating).
So all in all, a great visit to Brooklyn: some good beer, and a great catch-up with an old chum, and a chance to meet her grandly monikered new bairn. Now, however, we’re in Kansas, and today found ourselves walking part of the Lewis & Clark trail in the beauty of the Missouri autumnal leaf fall, then doing some tasting of local Missouri wines, and then beers. In my shocking ignorance, I didn’t even know about Missouri wine, but apparently the state is the US’s second biggest producer after California. Well I never.