Everyone in New York, including its breweries, likes to think we’re the best at whatever we do. While that’s certainly true, NYC Beer Week is taking a different approach to this year’s festivities, which span over 400 events from Feb. 24 to March 5.
“New York City is not insular; it’s a very exploratory city. People like to try new things,” says Kelly Taylor, president of the festival’s organizing group, the New York City Brewers Guild, and brewmaster at KelSo. “Beer Week is about the culture of beer in New York City, which is much bigger than our borders.”
To gather more people around the keg, Beer Week is holding its first-ever Fermentation Festival on Feb. 25, a celebration of all things beer and beyond that wouldn’t exist without yeast and other helpful organisms, which will highlight 30 home brewers. And for its awards party on March 4, the Ruppert’s Cup, guild members invited some of their favorite breweries in the state and beyond to collaborate on totally new, one-off beers. It’s a chance for brewers to exchange ideas and keep the scene fresh, while New York drinkers get to taste something totally new.
“We’re creating a culture that will only help grow the industry,” says Taylor.
While IPAs are still going strong, the softer style created on the East Coast is taking over. “They’re dank, to be honest, typically unfiltered and hazy,” says Taylor. One notable brewer of the style isin the Bronx, which had a breakout year in 2016 with the massive success of , its collaboration brew with the cast of “Hamilton.”
With hundreds of events happening throughout the 10 days of NYC Beer Week, from tap takeovers to pairing dinners and even farmer talks, we found a few more highlights.
It’s rare that we covet our neighbors across the Hudson, but New Jersey does have something we don’t: Kimchi Smoke, the South Korean barbecue joint known for dishes like ramen fried chicken and the ultimate savory doughnut sandwich. This Friday, they’re making the trek to Rockaway Brewing Co.’s Long Island City taproom for a night of ridiculous food and the kind of beers that’ll have you remembering beach weather is almost here again. Feb. 24, 7 p.m., pay as you go, 4601 Fifth St., Long Island City
This is always the biggest party of the event, with over 50 breweries participating and food curated by LIC Flea. It’s also the only place to taste all of Beer Week’s challenge beers, known as SMaSH brews. This year, the “S” in SMaSH stands for “single,” meaning all 15 competing breweries had to use the same single malt and single hop to create their beers — though you may not know it from the results, which range from sweet Belgian saisons to the driest Imperial IPAs. $12-$70, Feb. 25, 5:30-9:30 p.m., Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St.
Chasing a session of yoga with a craft beer is the trendiest way to exercise, but there’s a new suds-saluting club in town doing things a little differently. Originally from the West Coast, Beer Fit Club has finally arrived in New York with classes that require you to balance not just yourself, but a pint of beer in themed poses like Drunken Warrior and Earn Your Beer. Oh, and you’re also drinking between them! The first session will be at Finback Brewery in Queens; beginners welcome, BYO mat, ticket includes one pint of beer. $20-$25, Feb. 25, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 7801 77th Ave.