April 19, 2012

Some DNOs we improvise a bit. David, Dan and I had planned to meet at a new tapjoint, Beer Authority, across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, near Times Square, in the greatest city in the world. During the afternoon, I got an email from Empire Brewery that they were doing a tap takeover at Bierkraft, way out on 5th Ave in Park Slope. I've been jonesing for a taste of their White Aphro, so we agreed to meet there instead.

David and I grabbed a table in the back yard on this pleasant April night. I started with Empire White Aphro; David, the Empire Strikes Bock, undoubtedly the best-named beer EVER! Dan arrived soon after.

The Empire White Aphro is nice on draft, a hefeweissen with subtle hints of ginger and lemon peel, instead of the more usual orange peel and coriander. It's not a crisp tonight as I remember from last year's TAP-NY festival. I overheard a guy I remember meeting at the Empire Booth at TAP-NY saying "Yeah, it's not the same but I gotta wave the flag..." Was he talking about White Aphro? Now that I think about it, there seem to be an inordinate number of people wearing Empire Brewing Company tour jackets tonight. There's a menu card on the table with Empire's beers says "Brewed in Brooklyn"? I thought these guys were based in Syracuse. The mystery deepened....

I grabbed my friend (Dave, I think) and he explained that Empire was partnering with Greenpoint Brew Works to bring their brews downstate. Greenpoint Brew Works also brews beer for Heartland Brewery, Sixpoint, Great South Bay Brewery as well as their own label, Kelso of Brooklyn. That would explain everything...

The Empire Strikes Bock is nicely spicey, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. It's a complex brew that I needed to try several times before I could a handle on it. We finally came to the conclusion that it has a very sweet, malty start, and a bitter, astringent finish. Not really my cup of tea, but certainly interesting.

Next up was Empire's Liv & Let Rye. Right away I knew that Dan's gonna like this! With lots of peppery rye malt and three kinds of hops, it was actually more hoppy that Empire's IPA. And with a 6.5% ABV, I was getting a nice buzz on.

There were some decent sandwiches here. Dsn snd Dasvid went for the Italian; I had the pastrami-spiced brisket. We had a selection of Zapp's Kettle Chips to wash it down with: Hotter N Hot Jalapeno, Cajun Crawtaters, Mesquite Bar-B-Que and Sour Cream & Onion. With they were all good, the Sour Cream & Onion was uncommonly good—the hands-down winner.

I foolowed the rye with an Empire Brown Ale. Wow! There's a strong burnt coffee note. Perhaps a little thin on the mouthfeel, but very nice—assuming you love coffee! Like the bock, this beer weighed in at a hefty 6.8% ABV. Highly recommended!

After bitching about our wives, David hipped Dan & I to the Machete Order for watching Star Wars. You watch the movies in this order: A New Hope (IV), The Empire Strikes Back (V) | Attack of the Clones (II), and ending with Revenge of the Sith (III) | Return of the Jedi (VI). While I like the idea of cutting to the back story after the big reveal of Episode V and delaying the climactic ending of Episode VI, I am appaled by the idea of omitting The Phantom Menace (I). David can be very persuasive after a few beers, however.

I finished up with a Kelso of Brooklyn Saison. Very yeasty and fruity, but not cloying at all. Solid finish to a great night of good beers! I like this joint!

91 5th Ave.,
Brooklyn NY 11217
(718) 230-7600

North White Plains, one month later [click...]

Empire White Aphro and the Empire Strikes Bock!

The Back Yard @ Bierkraft

The Bobsy Twins, Dan and Steve

David's disappearing chins

View from the table