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Introducing our NYC Brewery Series

John LaPolla

Introducing our NYC Brewery Series

While enjoying a delicious beer at NYC’s newest brewery, Fifth Hammer, I found myself thinking about their co-owner and head brewer (and friend) Chris Cuzme. Chris moved to New York some years back for two things, to make music and to make beer. Chris, along with his wife Mary Izett, have been tireless advocates for the homebrew and beer scene in the five boroughs. I was so happy sitting there, seeing Chris’s hard work finally come to fruition. But Chris is not alone in this story. In the past five years many people have taken the plunge to open their...

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Foraging for a truly local beer

John LaPolla

Foraging for a truly local beer

I always like to keep things interesting here at Bitter & Esters and sometimes that means stepping out of my comfort zone. As the beer world gets ever more creative I thought it would be a good idea to start searching for new brewing ideas in our own backyard. With a visit from Stan Hieronymus, author of an excellent new book entitled Brewing Local: American Grown Beer coming up soon (Friday, August 18th & 19th to be specific), I decided it would be fun to make some beer with locally grown ingredients to serve at his visit. How does one...

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Homebrew Clubbing

John LaPolla Brooklyn Homebrew Clubs NYC Online Queens Shopping Staten Island

You know what’s awesome about NYC? All the boroughs have at least one brew club, and some have more! Most clubs have a monthly meeting where they discuss upcoming homebrew events and contests, vote on experiments that they want to try, and brainstorm things the club can do in the homebrewing community at large. The meetings are always a great time and a bit of a drinking fest. I recently decided to go on a mini-tour of some of the brew clubs by going to meetings with Brewstoria, Pour Standards, and the Brewminaries. It was a great way to talk...

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Just One Word: Kegging

John LaPolla Bottles Keg Kegging Packaging

Just One Word: Kegging

What’s the best part of homebrewing? Drinking your beer of course! But in order to get beer you have to boil your wort, cool it down, pitch the yeast and wait for fermentation to turn that wort into delicious beer. Then when you are done fermenting you need to package your beer somehow. You can drink flat beer right out of your fermenter if you want to, but . . . no thanks. Bottling is a great way to package when you first start homebrewing, and priming your beer has it’s advantages. With the help of a little more sugar,...

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Sours Galore

John LaPolla Blog Sour

The first time you try a sour beer can be intense, but once you start acquiring the taste you will notice much greater complexity. The traditional European sours are Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red, Oud Bruin, Lambics, Geuze and Gose. Saisons, pale ales, even porters and stouts can work with some sourness to them, big hoppy beers not so much. The sourness in these beers come from the blends of yeast and bacteria used to ferment them (often referred to as "bugs"). The main souring bugs are Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Brettanomyces. Lactobacillus is the bacteria that turns milk bad. Its byproduct...

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