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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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  • Deflation Celebration at Whole Foods Columbus Circle
    5:00pm January 29, 2015
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    We are excited to once again partner with Whole Foods Columbus Circle for our annual Really Big Football Game extravaganza. This year's "Deflation Celebration" features nine different beers. In the interest of fairness and a level playing field, all 64-ounce growler fills and pitchers will be two dollars off and all 32-ounce growlers and in-store pints will be a dollar off as well. All growlers and pint glasses will be COMPLETELY FILLED.

    We look forward to seeing you once again this year. Rest assured, we will be playing by the rules.

    See you there! The line-up is below:

    Crisp Pilz
    Resin IIPA
    Sweet Action ALE
    Bengali IPA
    Beast Mode Porter
    Hi-Res IIPA
    Otis Nitro
    Righteous
  • Sixpoint Tasting at Total Wine Pembroke Pines.
    6:00pm January 29, 2015
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    Come on down to Total Wine Pembroke Pines and see why Beer is Culture and why our cycliquids are Mad Science!
    Total Wine & More, 15980 Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, FL 33027, United States