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From Home Brew To Brewhouse

If you were to take a time machine (or possibly a Delorian) back a few decades, you’d probably be pretty thirsty… Reach for a beer, and unfortunately you would find only a few dozen breweries operating inside the United States.  Back then, the American palate was most familiar with beer prized for its less offensive qualities, as opposed to its more adventurous formulations.  Fortunately for all of us, today there are more than 2,000 breweries pumping out new chocolate stouts, doppelbocks, black IPAs, and many other craft styles.

A look back at early home brew meetings

So many of the breweries and well-loved craft beers of today can find their roots in home brewing.  What was once considered a complicated, antiquated practice is now an increasingly popular pastime – particularly in the company of the younger homebrewers who, unlike their parents and elders, were raised in a world awash with unconventional ales and lagers.  This younger generation is also uncharacteristically patient: many don’t mind finding the time (sometimes more than a year to ferment, condition, and age) to make their own.  As we would come to learn, Jeff Kruszyna is very much a part of this growing generation.

Home brew alley in full swing

It’s not surprising then that along with many new homebrewers, many would look to friendly competition to grow their communities, enhance their knowledge and show off the fruits of their labor.  Now in its 6th year, the New York City Home Brewers Guild held its annual Homebrew Alley competition this past January right here in Brooklyn, NY.  Hundreds of different homebrews were entered, with each one judged independently with respect to their style.  Of those many entries, the nearly 30 first place homebrews proceeded onwards to be judge by a designated Brewmaster.  This year, Sixpoint’s own Brewmaster Jan Matysiak was invited to offer his own judgement for the hallowed “Brewmaster’s Choice Award.”

Jan takes his judging very seriously

Upon Jan’s final selection, Jeff Kruszyna proudly claimed this title and, according to Jan, “won by just a hair” with his American Barleywine entered in the Strong Ale category.  On top of earning the clout and admiration of his peers, the real prize here came in the form of an opportunity to brew a 15 bbl batch of the winning recipe at Sixpoint’s Redhook Brewery.

Jeff Kruszyna and Head Brewer Pete Dickson discuss the brewing strategy

Brewing began this past week with Jeff on hand to take part in the process.  An obviously special day for the winner, Head Brewer Pete Dickson said he “had a great time working with the originator of the recipe.  A fun day of collaboration.”  NYCHG veteran Chris Cuzme was also present for the brew.

Chris Cuzme with Jeff Kuszyna at the brewery

The aptly named “Old Redhooker” will be available at select NYC bars and pubs as soon as the maturation and aging process is complete.  Check back for an update as to when and where you can sample this award winning homebrew.  This was one small step for beer, but one giant leap for Jeff Krusyna.  Cheers!

Nice work Jeff!

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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
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    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