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Mad Scientists Series #2: Berserker Bock

All too often, one must decide between two beverages with favorable effects: coffee and beer. It happens during the mid-afternoon slump. It happens after dinner, or during lunch. It doesn’t have to be a stark choice anymore. The Mad Scientists at Sixpoint brewery have concocted a potion that represents the finest convergence of coffee and beer: the Berserker Bock.

Leaving aside the modern connotations of crazed or deranged, the brewers have dug at the root of the word, “berserk,” uncovering a fascinating class of Norse warrior-men, the Berserkers. These men went into battle under the influence of something potent. It is believed that Berserkers drank a curious brew prepared by knowing men of medicine of their age. The tonic was made with the intent to induce these Berserkers, clad in bear pelts for added effect, into a state so frighteningly focused on the task at hand that they would crush their enemies in swift time. Nowadays we might fight the nine-to-five drudgery with a similar — yet less severe, less costumed — approach.

Few other drugs have been as vastly embraced as caffeine and alcohol throughout the world. Coffee beans were regarded as “the magical fruit” in King Louis XVI’s time in France. The Mad Scientists of Red Hook certainly thought they still were, too, as they gathered to take breaks over a freshly brewed pot of Stumptown Coffee Roasters‘ beans at the brewhouse each day. (When choosing, of course, to go with that instead of beer.) And so it was through the camaraderie of these similarly creative-minded coffee roasters — Mad Coffee Scientists, you could call them — whose Brooklyn roasting plant was just down the street from the brewery, that the genesis for the coffee-infused Berserker Bock began.

There are many coffee-flavored beers, but the Mad Scientists were determined to give it a style anew. The first determination was cold-brewing the coffee, as recommended by many coffee experts. This would result in a much less acidic flavor, with the full, sweet, roasty profile of the beans taking spotlight. Next, Stumptown’s chief roaster and founder Duane Sorenson selected a coffee bean of rare and impeccable variety: Guatemalan El Injerto, sourced from the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala himself. Of the particular variety, Sorenson had this to say: “No one in their right mind would dispute its being… totally radical.”

The perfect beer style in which to showcase these toasty, nutty and fruity flavors was the bock, the Mad Scientists agreed. Indeed, the oft-underappreciated style lends itself well to a great variety of traits. Because bocks, like all Lager-style beers, are cold-fermented, they lack the complex esters that usually accompany ale fermentation and are cleaner-tasting in profile. Sixpoint founder Shane Welch found this to be an ideal environment to let the El Injerto beans shine. The brewers employed a non-traditional process of infusing the cold-brewed coffee with the cold-fermented beer, resulting in the Berserker Bock. Unlike other “big”-tasting ales or stouts, this collaborative beer is nuanced and unobstructive on the palate. It is also extremely high in naturally-occurring caffeine and has an ABV of 6.5%.

“The result is a surprisingly light, refreshing lager, with slight caramel undertones and a taste not unlike a glass of iced coffee,” wrote Keith Wagstaff in the L Magazine, upon tasting the brew. He further warns: “It does provide a decent caffeine buzz, so save it for a big night out instead of for a nightcap.” The Mad Scientists are content to leave this decision to you.

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    The NYCTaper Unofficial CMJ Day Party is happening on Thursday October 23, 2014 at Cake Shop. Show is free and Sixpoint drink specials all night! Doors are opening at Noon! Here is the schedule. 06:15pm: PURLING HISS 05:30pm: MAINLAND 04:50pm: PALEHOUND 04:10pm: AMANDA X 03:30pm: RIVERGAZER 02:50pm: THE KICKBACK 02:15pm: PRETTIOTS 01:40pm: WHISKEY BITCHES 01:00PM: BEACH DAY FB INVITE: http://www.facebook.com/events/1471451349803256
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    Please join us on Thursday, October 23rd as we help our friends from Barcade celebrate 10 years of classic arcade games and craft beer! This is sure to be epic!! We're opening early for this one! Event starts at 2pm. We pulled the very very last keg of the 2006 Bolshoi! out of our walk-in box and it will be served alongside the Batch we made for them last year. It's hard to say that anything won't ever happen again, but this is one of them! Here's the rest of the draft list, too. Allagash Bourbon Black 2011- 7.5% ABV - Belgian Strong Dark Ale Avery The Beast 2011 - 16.2% - Belgian Grand Cru Bear Republic Tartare Rouge - 6.0% - Wild Red Ale Bell's Sweet Potato Stout - 6.1% - Got marshmallows? Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout 2007 - 10.6% - The classic - aged 7 years at Barcade! Bruery Smoking Wood - 13.0% - Smoked wood? Yes! Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold 2010 - 9.0% - Belgian Tripel Cigar City Fight the Power - 5.5% - Sour Apple Cider Climax Barcade Anniversary Abbey - 8.0% - Abbey Dubbel brewed exlusively for Barcade's 10th anniversary! Coney Island Geektoberfest 2009 - 10.0% - Strong Ale Dogfish Head 120 Minute 2007 - 21.0% - A massive IPA Firestone Walker 15th Anniversary 2011 - 12.5% - Strong Ale aged in oak barrels Fisherman's Pepper II - 7.0% - Barcade exclusive Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout (cask) - 6.0% - Served IN A PUMPKIN!!! AGAIN!!!! Founders KBS 2012 - 11.2% - Breakfast stout aged in bourbon barrels Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws - 11.5% - American Barleywine Harpoon Baltic Porter 2009 - 9.5% - The blackest of black North Coast Old Rasputin 2004 - 8.9% - Russian Imperial Stout - aged 10 years (TEN YEARS!!!) at Barcade!! Rogue Old Crustacean 2009 - 11.3% - Classic Barleywine Sierra Nevada Jack and Ken Ale 2010 - 10.2% - Jack McAuliffe guest brewed Barleywine Sixpoint Bolshoi 2006 - 10.5% - Last keg from the original batch Sixpoint Bolshoi 2013 - 10.5% - New batch, re-brewed last year for YOURS TRULY only! Victory Harvest Session IPA (cask) - ?% - Only one in NYC
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