Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Companion Release At Brooklyn Brewery

On Monday, 19 September, the Brooklyn Brewery hosted a double Companion release party. It was a celebration of the release of The Oxford Companion to Beer, edited by brewmaster Garrett Oliver and, in celebration of the celebration, Garrett brewed up a new Brewmaster's Reserve limited-release beer, The Companion, which was premiered at the party.

The Man, The Myth, The Garrett

The Companion, the book, is a giant, 920-page tome covering a multitude of beery topics (over 1,110) from "Abbey Beers" to "Zymurgy" and stopping at subjects such as "barley yellow dwarf virus", "drinking customs", "kvass", "Russian River Brewing Company", and "Willamette hop" along the way. The 160 contributors come from a veritable who's who of the brewing world; I won't offer a sampling of names for fear of offending someone by leaving them off the list!

The book took 4 years to write and edit and must be the most comprehensive and thorough overview of beer and brewing. Regardless of your level of interest in obscure brewing topics (I did not know that trans-2-nonenal (a compound contributing to oxidation, or staleness) is now known as (E)-2-nonenal!) this book is a must-have reference for anyone who wishes to learn more about beer.

The Companion, the beer, is also a collaborative effort from Garrett, Horst Dornbusch (associate editor), and Thomas Kraus-Weyermann, of the Weyermann malting company. By the way, one of the best things about arriving in Bamberg, Germany by train is smelling the malt as you pull into the station. Thomas created special new floor malts (what is floor malting? Look it up in The Companion, page 365) for the 9.1% abv wheat wine, a wheat-based beer similar to a barleywine (page 92). The recipe includes floor malted Bohemian pilsner malt, floor malted Bohemian dark malt, floor malted wheat (55% of the grist), and pale wheat malt and is hopped with Willamette, German Perle, and Styrian Goldings hops.

Half full, or half empty?
The beer had a tropical fruit aroma and the flavor was sweet up front, like treacle, with some fruitiness (peach, light fruits) in the middle. There was a soft, lingering bitterness in the finish from the hops and while warming and high in alcohol, the body was fairly light.

The party was an interesting cross between beer folks and publishing people and it was often very easy to figure out which camp a person fell into. But everyone enjoyed the beer.

The new expansion of the brewery was open for the guests to visit and pick up a glass of Companion or Radius, a 4.8% saison only available on draft at the Brewery.

Maia, from Brooklyn Brewery, in front of the Box Wall
she constructed as a back-drop for
The Self-Portrait Project. Visit their website
for fun self-portraits from the event.

Mary, Jen, and Mike enjoying their beers

Brewery expansion

No comments:

Post a Comment