Love beer? Wanna learn more about it, its history or the brewing process? Well you’re in luck! City Brew Tours has recently launched in Brooklyn, and we had a chance to try them out!
City Brew Tours, which is based in Boston, was founded in 2008 Burlington, VT by Chad Brodsky (who’s from Long Island btw) and has been growing ever since! City Brew Tours made its way to NYC, Brooklyn that is, when it officially launched the last week of May 2018.
While on these curated tours, you are taken on a beer experience which educates you about the ingredients in beer, the brewing process, and new styles while introducing you to the craft brewing community. What’s even cool is that you will have a Designated Driver the whole time! City Brew Tours’ goal has pretty much been to introduce as many people as we can to art of craft brewing and the culture and history surrounding it.
Chad founded City Brew Tours to give microbreweries exposure to the masses, and is dedicated to advancing the craft beer movement everywhere they go.
There are two types of BK tours made for everyone’s various New Yorker availabilities. Both tours lasts 4 hours, has 13 spots, is available Thursday-Sunday, and runs $115 per a person.
The Original Brew Tour, is a daytime tour includes:
At least 12 beer styles
VIP access at 3 stops
Light lunch with beer pairing
City brew tours swag
The After Hours Brew Tour (the one we went on), is an evening tour includes:
Up to 15 beer styles
Access at 3 stops
Light dinner and beer pairing
City brew tours swag
You can also book a private tour for up to approx. 22 people, for events like Bachelor Parties, Bachelorette Parties, Special Occasions, Corporate Outings, and Conventions & Conferences. They can even do stop rotations for large groups.
The 6 Brooklyn Breweries, which can be included in the tours include:
Interboro Spirits & Ales
Circa Brewing Co.
Five Boroughs Brewing Co.
Wartega Brewing Co.
Strong Rope Brewery
Kings Beer Hall
Each tour includes a beer-centric meal at either Kings Beer Hall or Circa Brewing Co. (lunch and dinner). The tastings also includes an in-depth analysis and history of each beer you taste, but also the step by step process and why specific beers compliment specific foods.
As for the transport, you are taken around the borough in a 15-passenger van, which was pretty comfy by the way! The pickup spot for the Brooklyn Public Tours pick up is at 147 Smith Street, in front of “Mom & Pop’s Organic Market”. It’s located in Downtown Brooklyn and easily accessible via the Bergen Street subway stop on the F & G Train or a 10-minute walk from Borough Hall Street Station on the 4 & 5 train or the Hoyt Street Station on the 2 & 3 train. Lots of options! And a quick ride if you’re coming from the city.
As for our tour, our tour guide, Isaac definitely left me with a new appreciation and for beer and the process of making it. During our time in the van, he gave us a rundown of beer history from when it was made by the Egyptians, to the times of the Founding Fathers to the time everyone loathed, Prohibition, where I learned about a beverage called “near beer“, which doesn’t contain enough booze to be a true beer, but was made during this time because well, people loved that beer taste!
We even touched upon the present with the NY Farm Bill, where breweries who use more than 20% materials made in from NYC, can sell in tasting room. This number will increase to 60% next year, and 90% in 2033. These taproom sales are big money makers for breweries!
Our first stop along the tour, was at Five Boroughs Brewing Co., located in Sunset Park, where we got to try Helles, Gosé, Vickers Daydream and a Dry Irish Stout, which was my favorite. More about them here!
Five Boroughs Brewing’s brew room was huge and we stood like small children amongst the large fermenters. What really set them apart however is that they are working on making their own yeasts, which if successful can really cut the bottom line.
The next was the food pairing dinner at Circa Brewing Co., located in Brooklyn Heights which is classified as a Brew Pub, at least 75% of the beer made is sold in house. It was a three course meal and we started off with a delicious and well-dressed mixed green salad, then hot and crisp herb dusted fries. We finally chowed down on a variety of wood fired artisan pizzas. You really couldn’t go wrong with the meal like that.
We paired our meal with 3 beers: Hefeweizen, which was my favorite, a Nitro Brown Ale, which was ok to my tastes and a Moniker IPA, which wasn’t my fav, seeing that I am not a fan of IPAs. More about them here!
During this stop, I did learned the acronym SRM (Standard Reference Method) which is used to ID beer by color, as we had three very different colored beers. Lighter values are lower and darker values are higher on the scale. SRM values over 40 are reported as black.
I didn’t remember which beer went well with which course item, but included in our lanyard card pack was a little guide which lays down which beers pairs with which foods, in addition to cards which displayed beer flavor profiles, the brew process, and the history of beer.
Our last stop was at Interboro Spirits & Ales, located in East Williamsburg, which was a monster of all its own because they distilled their own spirits like whiskey and gin, and brew their own beer.
We took a tour of their back brew room and downed a refreshing Summertime Rules, which was my favorite, Mad Fat Fluid IPA, you can guess how I felt about that, and a selection of your choosing. Being a spirits girl as well, I was eyeing their spirits off the menu, but thought I should do it right and went with a Pilsner, the Alpine Style.
If you’re an indecisive one, they also have beer flights available, with a selection of 4 different beers. Take away Growlers are an option too!
I feel City Brew Tours has what it takes to make it in the city that never sleeps, as they say if you make it here you can make it anywhere. For one keep strong relations with their breweries, and also has a staff which walk all walks of brew life. From those with bar experience, to those with skills in home brewing, to those who just have a passion for beer. Stemming from this, I learned that a beer connoisseur is called a Cicerone, if you were ever looking into being one.
Cities City Brew Tours operates in other Northern eastern cities as well, so if you find you wanna check out other cities and their beers community, you can visit Baltimore, MD, Burlington, VT, Philadelphia, PA, Washington D.C., Boston, MA, and/or Pittsburgh, PA, all within a reasonable driving distance.
Now if you have the attention of a goldfish and probably won’t remember anything from the tour, but are down for the delicious beer and grub, just remember this, there 3 main things needed to make beer: Water, Barley, and Hops. Beer Lesson Done!