Do you love beer? Dogs? How about cats? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this past Saturday’s (March 26) sold-out Beer for Beasts benefit hosted by The Bell House and put on by Beer Advocate and Sixpoint Brewery was a must do event. With proceeds benefiting The Humane Society of NYC, Sixpoint’s team of mad scientist’s brewing up 18 one-off event exclusive beers, and food from some of Brooklyn’s best restaurants including Calexico, Mile End, Pizza Moto, Prime Meats, and Brooklyn Soda Works, this event was a win-win for everybody. And did I mention the burlesque?
I arrived at the Bell House for the night session (there was a day and night session) around 6 and after spending about 10 minutes in line I was in the door with beer list in hand. After a few seconds scanning the room I got in the first line I saw and ended up with the refreshing Willie Welch (an Amber Saison/American Pale Ale hybrid), while trying to figure out the layout of the room which was initially quite confusing due to a lack of visible signs indicating which beers were where. After talking to one of the volunteers I was told that all the limited and collaboration beers in the main room were in alphabetical order from station to station, while many of Sixpoint’s regular releases were at the bar in the front room. With the logistics out of the way, I started sampling all the brews made exclusively for the event many of which were collaborations between Sixpoint’s team and folks in Brooklyn’s beer and food community. Many of the beers showcased the borough’s ingenuity, creativity, and willingness to experiment with unique ingredients including such oddities as Hawaiian Punch (Knockout Punch), Mexican chilies (El Gordo Barracho), and reduced grapefruit juice (Triphop Grapefruit IPA). Here are some of my favorites:
Barley & Chinook- an American IPA made with a single barley malt and a single hop strain, “Chinook”-hence, “Barley & Chinook”. However, this beer has a deeper meaning, as Barley and Chinook are the names of brewer Shane Welch’s two dogs. Fermented with classic American ale yeast. 6.6%, 65 IBU
Decade-ence- an American Double IPA made with 10 different types of hop strains, each contributing 10 IBU’s of bitterness to a 10% ABV beer. It’s a decade of Decade-ence! Made by brewers Sean Redmond and Shane Welch. 10%, 100 IBU
GNT –Wintry Mix- the follow up to the 2007 release of Gran’dad’s Nerve Tonic, collaboration between Junk Science and Sixpoint. The Wintry Mix, however, is a reinterpretation of the original GNT, emerging as the “first true taste of spring.” This beer is an American IPA, black at first glance, but stirring with energy and activity underneath. Primarily fermented with California ale yeast, but then a secondary Belgian ale strain was added halfway through. Spiced with a little bit of bee pollen at the end, you will definitely taste some pine and resin stirring underneath all of that darkness 7.4 %, 63 IBU
Kandake- first-ever brew from Candice Alstrom, Beer for Beasts co-partner, the director of events at Beer Advocate and wife of Todd Alstrom, co-founder of BA. Candice’s brew is a Brown Ale with a Mitmita Spice blend, figs, and organic African Honey. It’s fermented with our house yeast, and also seasoned with Stumptown Ethiopian coffee. A truly inspired and unique beer of flavor and spice! 6.0%, 35 IBU
Old Krusher- a barleywine that is deep amber in color with aromas and flavors of pine, caramel, dark ripe fruit and fresh figs 9.5%, 114 IBU
Berserker Bock- the second release of the Mad Scientists Series by Sixpoint Brewery. This beer is made with local Stumptown El Injerto beans, roasted only several blocks from Sixpoint’s facility in Red Hook. Sixpoint and Stumptown made a special “cold infusion” in their stainless steel mini-conical fermentor(dubbed the “McConical”) and then kegged this cold infusion extract directly into sixtels. The pure coffee extract was then transfused into a base “bock” style beer, made with a California common lager yeast. Afterwards, during the final conditioning phase, a special blend of fresh El Injerto beans and hops were steeped immediately prior to packaging. Outstanding beer, captured on video as well- youtube.com/sixpointvision – 6.2% 37 IBU
Throughout the evening there were several burlesque dance performances, a soulful soundtrack provided by DJ outfit Chances with Wolves, and a short film promoting the Humane Society of New York. About the only thing I was bummed about all evening was the long food lines and cold weather (food was outside) that prevented me from sampling any of the food.
At one point I had a chance to meet Jason and Todd Alstrom of Beer Advocate and talk to them about the event. After mentioning to Todd that I had attended Extreme Beer Fest a couple of weeks before we agreed that Sixpoint had really taken the overall concept, challenge, and spirit of that fest and really taken it to another level with the Beer for Beasts event.
Overall this was a great event and kudos to all involved. I understand that this is going to be a yearly event so if you were not able to attend this year be sure to go next year…and if you could not attend but would like to donate some money to benefit the Humane Society of New York please check out the following website: