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Passion, Inspiration and Technique

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PIT LogoI am looking forward to our upcoming event at Covenhoven on August 9th, New York Pro-Am Brew P.I.T. The P.I.T. Stands for Passion, Inspiration and Technique. Thinking about those three words, I realized that this is what drives brewers, whether home or pro. Every brewer feels passion about brewing. It's what makes you brew. Writing a recipe. The feel of the grist, the smell of the mash, that feeling when you hit a good efficiency. Boiling, adding hops (that aroma!) cooling the wort, pitching the yeast. Then the sweet anticipation of fermentation, the patience to not check your beer every day, watching the airlock bubble. Bottling or kegging, having to wait to try your finished product. And then, drinking an excellent beer that you crafted yourself. And doing it all again. These and many other reasons are why we brew. Inspiration can come from many areas but I find it almost always starts with beer. You try a beer that blows your mind and you want to do something like it, or build on it. Or you have a meal and you think what sort of beer would work with this? If the flavors and spice of the food work a certain way maybe it will work in your beer? Maybe a friend is getting married and you want to brew something awesome for their special day. Or maybe you are inspired just because you like really good beer. Inspiration can come from anywhere. And then there's technique, which for me is the fun part. The thing that brewers talk to each other about. What was your mash temp, did you treat the water? What was your grain bill? Hop bill? Your yeast, fermentation temp, fermentation strategy? What kind of gear do you have? Personally I have been brewing for over 20 years and I learn more about technique every day. Brewers share this knowledge happily with each other. And our beers get better because of it. P.I.T., it's the beauty of brewing. Imagine if you could learn and share all this from someone who brews for a living? That is how New York Pro-AM Brew P.I.T. was born. When our friend and customer Robert Sherill discussed the idea of doing an event with Bitter & Esters, the first thing we all agreed upon was that it wasn't going to be a bunch of home brewers sharing their beer type of event. Don't get me wrong, those events are a lot of fun and I love going to them. But they're being done well already by other people. We felt we wanted to add something else to the mix. Kicking a bunch of ideas around, the one that excited us the most was pairing home brewers with some of the new breweries popping up in NYC. All of these new breweries are started by people who were home brewers first. They all made that leap to the next phase, going pro. We thought, how cool would it be to get our more advanced brewers to see what it is like from a pro brewers point of view? One of the perks of owning a home brew shop is that you get to know a lot of the people who are brewers for local breweries. Getting five of them on board was easy, they all loved the idea. The next step was picking the home brewers. Our criteria was simple, you had to be an all grain brewer, been brewing for at least a year and write your own recipes. We got over 50 entries! We put everyone's name in a hat and picked the lucky five at one of our monthly beer swaps. We wanted the brewers chosen to be as fair and random as possible. We then picked the breweries from a hat to pair with the brewers, again totally random. We set them up to meet each other, tour the brewery and discuss brewing beer. We told the home brewers to think of themselves as the new head brewer for the brewery, what would they want to add to their portfolio based on their discussions with the brewer? Hearing back from the pro and amateur brewers it sounds like everyone had a great time. Passions were discussed, Inspirations followed and Techniques were swapped. I cannot wait to taste the end results! Brew P.I.T. Is not really a contest, it's more of a gathering and bridge between breweries and home brewers, but there is a prize! One home brewer will be chosen by audience choice to brew 70 gallons of their beer with Chris Cuzme at 508 Gastrobrewery and have it served at the restaurant in Soho. Also, $200 will be donated to the charity of the brewers choice. Here are the breweries that will be there and the home brewers they are paired up with. Sixpoint Brewery - Sebastian Schinkel Sebastian has been a friend of B&E since the beginning. A great guy and an amazing brewer, his specialty is saisons. Sebastian was paired with Sixpoint and got to spend several hours with Heather and Marcus at the Red Hook brewery, seeing their process, talking about brewing and of course sampling beer. Can't wait to taste what they'll be pouring. BTW, that's the same Marcus who used to work for Bitter & Esters. From Home Brew shop employee to brewer! Finback LogoFinback Brewery - Sam Burlingame Sam is also an old friend of the shop. A long distance runner and excellent brewer, he runs a small business called Brewheister. Serendipity paired him with our friends Basil and Kevin at Finback brewery in Queens. Turns out Basil and Kevin are runners too, although I heard it's really Kevin that can run long distance! They met and discussed beer at Finback's awesome brewhouse in Queens. and I am looking forward to taste what that meeting inspired. Singlecut Beersmiths - Frank Lockwood I spoke with Frank yesterday and he told me he had a great time at Singlecut with Brian and Amanda. Singlecut is a major player in the NYC brewing scene, all of their beers are inspired by different guitar players. Frank told me he decided to run with that theme and picked the great Link Ray as his inspiration. He is brewing a hop forward ale and since Link Ray is from the south he is going to brew his beer with brown sugar, molasses and southern spices. Frank's been talking back and forth with Brian about the recipe formulation and has learned a ton from this collaboration. Read all about Frank's recipe here. Yonkers Brewing Company - Neal Hundt We met Sharif from Yonkers Brewing Company before they opened. Sharif, John and Nick came to our brew on premises to run test batches of their excellent Vienna Lager. Pure luck paired Neal with Sharif, and it turns out Neal's mom is from Yonkers and Neal still goes skating there every week. Neal's Great Grandfather was a Brewer in Pre WW1 Prussia (now Poland)! Neal decided to make a Belgian blonde after spending time with Sharif and Sharif will be pouring Yonkers Belgian honey blonde as well. Flagship Brewing CompanyFlagship Brewery - Ken Webster Flagship is the newest brewery in town and the first on Staten Island in 30 years. We've known head brewmaster Pat for as long as we've been open. Why? Because he used to be head brewer at Greenpoint brew works 3 blocks from the shop. Greenpoint is known for brewing Kelso and Heartland among others. (On a side note, the brewers from Greenpoint love bringing us high alcohol beers to try early in the afternoon to get us tipsy for the rest of the day. I'm talking to you Peter!) Ken Webster has been brewing since 2008 and after meeting with Pat from Flagship and talking about their lineup of beers, he decided to make a Brooklyn version of a German alt, providing more body and bolder flavor while balancing the pale color and refreshment of a Kolsch. Pat felt that the perfect compliment to Ken's beer is Flagships Dark Mild. Sounds awesome! On top of all this Bitter & Esters will be pouring samples from their wide array of brews. Robert Sherill and Xavier Serrano will be pouring their collaboration Kolsch. Even if you don't brew but love beer this is a great event for you. You can taste the beers that were made with passion by your neighbors. You can talk to the brewers about what inspired them to brew this beer and to open their business. You can find out about the techniques that are used to make the beers you love, and hopefully one day try your hand at making some yourself. Plus you get 12 - 4 oz samples of kick ass local beers at a great place, and a Pelzers pretzel! What's not to love? New York Pro Am Brew P.I.T. is August 9th 2014 at Covenhoven, 730 Classon Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. There will be 2 tasting sessions. Session 1: 1:00-3:00pm Session 2: 3:30-5:30pm. Only 50 tickets available for each session and tickets are $25 each – available here. I would like to thank everyone for making New York Pro-Am Brew P.I.T. happen. The brewers and the breweries, Robert Sherill, Chris Cuzme and 508, Billy and Molly at Covenhoven. See you on the 9th! John


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