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Why We Love Small Batches

We have nothing against pints… usually. But sixteen ounces can be a lot of beer in certain situations (don’t get us started on the boot, which is larger than Erica’s head and heavier than a newborn). We just happen to like things on the smaller side. That’s why when we started teaching people how to make beer, we did it on the one gallon scale instead of the ubiquitous five gallon setup.

At breweries and bars we line up as many tasting glasses as the table will hold. It’s not uncommon to spot us huddled over a dozen four-ounce glasses sticking our noses in each one before every sip. We love variety; we love surprises. So it’s not an actual surprise that when we created our own beer making kit we decided to go small too. For us, brewing small and drinking small means sharing and appreciating more. And to clarify small doesn’t mean less. Small means you can try that weird sour beer from Flanders or that beer you’ve been hearing about from some fifteen-barrel brewery out of Red Hook (just imagine you weren’t reading this on their website and already in love with them).

Not all beer is for everyone. A full pint of your favorite Imperial Stout or Rauchbier might be enough to drive your not-so-beer-loving friend back to gin and tonics for the night. It could be weeks before you convince him or her to give good beer another go. With half-pints or tasters, ask your friend what’s good or bad about the beer, and move on to the next one. It can be mere minutes before the right style is discovered (as long as you’re willing to finish a few ounces of beer on your friend’s behalf).

Now that you have a new beer-loving-friend thanks to small pours, it’s time to get the two of you brewing. And there too, we say go small. When brewing on a small scale, you can use the same ingredients you’ll find in your favorite breweries. You can start with grain and skip using extracts and powders altogether. On a small scale, brewing feels more like cooking. You’re using the same pots and spoons you would use to make pasta or oatmeal. You can totally geek out, or you can steer clear of the science of brewing as if you were cooking (How many times do you really reference the Maillard reaction when grilling steak? Or is non-enzymatic browning your thing?).

Brewing small batches means brewing more beers. A stove with multiple burners means brew day yields multiple batches. This is great for testing (Q: How many juniper berries should go into a gin inspired beer? A: After extensive testing, we learned one teaspoon crushed per gallon is perfect.). It’s ideal for emboldening your ingredient list (lobster shells are great, cedar not so much). And it’s great for variety. And while we love brewing five-gallon batches, having fifty bottles of your favorite beer may quickly result in its not being your favorite beer for long. Variety keeps every beer fresh. And what’s better than a fresh beer?

Erica Shea & Stephen Valand are the Co-Founders of Brooklyn Brew Shop and author’s of Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches.

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  • NYCTAPER Unofficial CMJ Showcase at Cake Shop
    12:00pm October 23, 2014
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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
    The Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow Street, NY, NY
  • Barcade's 10th Anniversary Night featuring Bolshoi! x 2
    2:00pm October 23, 2014
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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
    Barcade
  • Sixpoint Presents Rock Shop Brooklyn CMJ Showcase
    7:30pm October 23, 2014
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    Sixpoint is throwing a CMJ showcase at The Rock Shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn on 10/23. Join us for an evening of great music from some of the greatest emerging bands in the country. Admission is free and we'll have discounted Sixpoint beer on tap all night! And here's the lineup: 11:30 Pageantry 10:45 Somebody's Darling 10:00 Roll the Tanks 9:15 Not Blood Paint 8:30 Fictionist 7:45 The Lovehowl
    The Rock Shop, 249 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY