In the past four years that Josh Schaffner has been the director of N.Y. Craft Beer Week, he’s not only seen the a-bit-more-than-a-week-long celebration grow, he’s also watched the craft brew business itself flourish.
“Craft beer is booming as a business,” the affable 27-year-old told us while sipping beers during a recent press event for the festival at Brooklyn Brewery. “Breweries across the country are expanding, and new ones are popping up left and right.”
With that kind of growth, it’s been hard to define what exactly constitutes craft beer. For instance, Schaffner points out that it’s hard to say Brooklyn Brewery is a “craft” brewery when they have tripled production in the past year; at the same time, they still produce a number of small batches.
“My definition of a craft brew is a beer that was made for the purpose of brewing a beer with a specific flavor profile,” he says. “Cost is secondary, marketing is secondary. The main elements that go into production are to produce distinct flavor and taste.”
Schaffner sees N.Y. Craft Beer Week, which runs tomorrow through Sept. 25, as “an excuse for the city’s beer community to present themselves as one,” he says.
How it works
N.Y. Craft Beer Week, Sept. 16-25
1. Grab a Beer Week passport (find out how at www.nycbeerweek.com), which is an essential program and resource guide. It’s also available as an iPhone and Android app. The Passport includes information on participating bars, restaurants, stores, featured breweries, beer pairing menus, dinners, crawls and more.
2. Every bar in the Passport (there are over 110) has a featured brewery it’s pouring for $3.
3. Hop around and sample them all!
Craft beer in your ‘hood
Sure, they’ve got a lot of great beer — but N.Y. Craft Beer Week also celebrates great food. Here are just a few places offering delicious specials in honor of the festival.
131 W. 23rd St.
A $50 prix-fixe menu (which includes charred romaine hearts and PEI mussels) includes a Cigar City Brewery pairing. Specials run Friday through Sept. 25.
MexiQ Kitchen and Draught
37-11 30th Ave., Astoria
The Queens restaurant offers a four-course beer pairing feast for $39, featuring smoked chicken chimichangas and a spiced rubbed roast pork loin accompanied by beers such as Centennial Ale and Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale. Specials run Friday through Sept. 25.
This Saturday enjoy four courses with beverage pairings from Shmaltz Brewing Co. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and will set you back $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuities. For reservations, contact: email@example.com
Colicchio & Sons
85th Tenth Ave.
On Sept. 20 and 21, Colicchio & Sons will feature a five- course meal accompanied by beer from Victory Brewery. The cost is $95 per person and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. To make a reservation, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: In our Sept. 15 article on N.Y. Craft Beer Week, Josh
Schaffner, director of the event, used Brooklyn Brewery as an example of
a craft brewery that has experienced growth but continues to brew beer
for its flavor profile — what he considers the mark of a good beer. We
regret if this was misconstrued as Schaffner saying Brooklyn Brewery is
no longer a craft brewery.