I found myself on a Thursday night out and drinking a few hoppy beers but not at a bar but at the radio WNYC Greene Space. Like they say Thursday is the new Friday.
This was The Beer-Changing Magic of Brewing with Hops talk and tasting emceed by owner Jimmy’s No. 43, host of Beer Sessions Radio and beer aficionado Jimmy Carbone, who kicked off a serious beer talk and brought some of his beer buddies to discuss the popularity of hoppy, sudsy thirst quenchers.
Before entering the Greene Space main doors, I received a full bottle of Lagunitas IPA — it was that or the Pilsner, but I was here for the IPAs. I walked in holding a check list of beers featured on the tasting menu. Before taking my seat, I swooped in for some delicious cheese and bread topped with roast beef. Then, I headed straight to the tasting tables lined, which included Two Juicy Unfiltered from Two Roads Brewing Co., Tools of the Trade Extra Pale Ale and Power Tools IPA from Industrial Arts Brewing Co., and Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing. I tasted one before realizing it would be better to sample the brews during each presentation.
Jimmy’s line-up included many well-known beer experts ranging from various industries: Jeff O’Neil, founder and proprietor of Industrial Arts Brewing Company in Garnerville, New York, which focuses on using the best ingredients available to make “fresh, clean, hoppy beers”; John Segal, co-owner of Segal Ranch a third-generation, family hop farm widely known among craft brewers for estate-quality hops and a commitment to innovation in hop growing; Katherine Kyle, a managing partner at New York City’s Blind Tiger Ale House; and John Holl, writer, author of American Craft Beer Cookbook, co-host of Steal This Beer podcast and senior editor of Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine. Each person brought a different perspective and story to the table.
“Did anyone think IPAs would become so popular?” Jimmy asked his fellow panelists. This opened up the discussion with the history of the IPA, beers like Liberty, dating back 40 years ago, that introduced pale ales to the public. Although the initial reaction was mixed, eventually beer drinkers grew to like the bitterness, which at the time was the major shock appeal. Still more people were drawn to light lagers at the time. That has changed, according to Hall, who said people are asking “what IPAs do you have on tap?” Likewise, Katherine Kyle of Blind Tiger discussed how of her 28 her beer lines, 5-9 of them are IPAs. She can’t keep an IPA on very long since it’s always in demand- more than anything else.
The discussion was an eye opener to beer industry as a whole. It was both informative and interactive with the audience by passing around different types of hops and the pellets.
After schmoozing with the panelists, I grabbed some more cheese and brews before heading home.