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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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  • L Magazine's SummerScreen Presents "Heathers"
    We are proud to be a part of SummerScreen again - New York City's best outdoor movie experience presented by L Magazine! Tonight's movie is "Heathers." Sixpoint will be representing and serving up pints of Sweet Action and Crisp. Live music starts at 6:30 and the movie begins at sundown.
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    5:00pm August 1, 2014
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    $3 Sixpoint draft...local rep Jersey Dan spinning records...5-9pm...F-U-N!
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    The Craft Brew Races is a 5k road race followed by a local craft beer festival. The series will have six stops in 2014 with a race in each New England state. Runners and walkers are welcome to participate in the 5k. The post race beer festival will be open to non-runners as well and aseparate ticket is available on our website. The craft beer festival will be held immediately following the race featuring 20+ local breweries. This is a 21+ event. The festival will feature not only great local beer, but local food vendors and live music as well. http://www.craftbrewraces.com/newhaven/
    Edgewood Park, New Haven, CT, United States