Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hopfenstark Biere On Tap This Weekend

Brian, Jimmy, Fred, and Brigitte!
We had a surprise visit this week by Fred Cormier from Hopfenstark from Montreal (si vous parlez fran├žais, cliquerez ici) and importer Brian Ewing from 12 Percent Importers. We are totally psyched to be offering Hopfenstark's Post-Colonial IPA on tap this weekend (or until the keg runs dry).

We love meeting our brewers and are always happy to have them hang out. It's one of the cool things about Jimmy's No. 43 where our beer family is always growing and where our friends are always welcome. Thanks to Brian, Fred and Fred's wife for stopping by to tell us about the Canadian brew scene!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Support Food Systems With A Quacking Duck Cook-Off April 9th from 1-4 p.m.

Our friends at Food Systems Network were nice enough to beat us to the punch and get up this great blog post about next month's NYC Duck Cook-Off. More details to come, but in the meantime you can whet your appetite on the following info...

Guests will Get Ducked on Saturday, April 9th, from 1-4 p.m., enjoying a walk-around, twelve-course tasting buffet, when a dozen amateur and professional cooks prepare their most creative duck dishes, using regionally produced quackers and seasonal ingredients in charcuterie and duck-dominated first and second courses.

Competing cooks will be judged on regional sourcing and seasonality of ingredients, creativity, execution, appearance, and taste.

The much coveted Golden Ducky, and other prizes, will be awarded to winning cooks!

Tickets will be sold at the door (cash only) - $20 (admission includes the Duck Buffet). Specially offered Beverages will be available for purchase.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Food Systems Network NYC, a project of the Fund for the City of New York. FSNYC is a not-for-profit profit, membership organization dedicated to ensuring the health and well-being of New Yorkers through access to good, wholesome, nutritious, and safe food and to supporting a strong, sustainable regional farm and food economy. FSNYC brings together regional and local stakeholders - from producers to distributors, advocates, officials, and eaters - to generate synergies that will help defeat hunger, improve health, and create a vital, regional food sector.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Benefit for Japan - March 28th Tickets Available Now!

There is a benefit to help our brewery friends in Japan that a few of us in the NYC beer community have put together to send money to our friend Mr. Kiuchi of Hitachino Brewery (to read his letter, check the blog below). Brooklyn Brewery, Heartland, Kelso, Sixpoint, Empire, Lagunitas, NY State Brewers Association, The Good Beer Seal, Beer Sessions Radio will be hosting the event with food provided by The Meat Hook, Jimmy's No. 43, Waterfront Ale House and local Japanese restaurants.
Join us on Monday, March 28, from 7-10PM at Brooklyn Brewery. All money raised will go to special direct account to Kiuchi Brewery (Hitachino) to distribute humanitarian aid locally. Click here for tickets!

Meet Volunteer Beer Steward Carolyn Edgecomb

Carolyn Edgecomb, Volunteer Beer Steward

Please tell us briefly about who you are and why you decided to become a Volunteer Beer Steward at Jimmy's No. 43. 

I am just a small-town girl loving life in the big city. I volunteered to be a Beer Steward at Jimmy's to help repay him for all the generosity he has shown to the craft beer and homebrew community over the years. That, and I get free beer and food.

What is your relationship to beer and why is good beer important to you?

Craft beer (and homebrew) is part of my larger passion for all things small-batch, hand-crafted, old-school, high-quality and the like. It is a community full of wonderful, interesting, and knowledgeable folk. Many of my closest friendships were forged over a pint and a cheese plate.

What's the most memorable beer tasting you can remember?

I can only pick one tasting?! Alright. Let's go back to June 14, 2008. I had just moved to the city a week before, and literally the only two people I knew (besides the coworkers I just met) invited me to a beer event at Spuyten Duyvil. Mind you I was 21, fresh out of college, and although I had enjoyed craft beer it hadn't yet become a burning passion. That day I had sour beer for the first time—that was the spark. After that I started hanging out with that same group of people, Beer Advocates all, and I guess the rest is history.

You walk into a bar (with or without the priest and rabbi) and don't recognize the names of any of the craft beers on the menu. Describe to the bartender, in beer terminology, what you want to drink.

An excellent question. I would request something refreshing, effervescent, and slightly tart (or very tart if they had it) in the family of Berliner Weisse, Belgian pale ale, and Saison.

Any favorite beer literature you could recommend for our book club?

I am thoroughly enjoying Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher that my little brother gave me.

What times/days do you plan to be available at Jimmy's as a Volunteer Beer Steward and what kinds of services do you hope to provide?

We are still working out the schedule but it looks like I will be there every third Tuesday. I will probably be there more often than that as a patron. As for the services I hope to provide: How about a cheerful, friendly face that will happily answer, or look up, any questions the patrons might have.

Final thoughts…

Thanks to Jimmy and Mike for putting on these tastings! I am very much looking forward to drinking with you all! Cheers!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 28th Event To Help Our Beer Brothers (And Sisters) In Japan!

Hitachino lives on...but needs your help.

Among the many suffering through the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan are several artisanal sake and beer makers that have been destroyed. We have received a letter from Mr. Kiuchi of Hitachino (he is safe), which we've included below. We're planning a benefit for March 28th at Brooklyn Brewery, and we'll be helped by Jon Bloostein of Heartland Brewery and the hosts of Beer Sessions Radio. More info coming soon...

Hi Jimmy,

This is Toshiyuki from Kiuchi Brewery. Thank you for the kind offer to help us. It was terrible experience for us, and so many people are missing.

Everyone in Japan is so discouraged by this big earthquake. Tokyo is far from the most damaged area, but nobody is visiting restaurants, only staying in their homes. Also, an oil refinery, which is located near sea, was damaged by the big tsunami wave, and a lot of cars are waiting at the gasoline station for fuel.

At our brewery, many of the building roofs and some brewing equipment was damaged. Almost 500 bottles were broken, but everyone is safe! Nearby the brewery there are so many holes and cracks on the road. When I visited the sea area (20 min. by car), I was so surprised: I could not understand why there were so many ships on the hill! Sadly, 19 people are missing in this area.

Now we have almost finished repairing our brewing equipment and are ready to start brewing again, but the electrical power is limited. We are bottling waiter to supply everyone, and the staff of our restaurant is cooking free food for people who have lost their homes.

I estimate our damage will be almost US$125,000, and this is very small compared with other breweries in the sea area.One brewery located in the Miyagi area that is owned by my relative was washed away; all the buildings are gone, and some staff are missing.

I think there are 10 sake breweries and five beer breweries that were seriously damaged. If you are planning to do charity party, how about donating to some of the more damaged breweries? Of course we are so honored your offer to help!!

Thank you so much and I will RETURN to NYC to taste your wonderful beers!!!

Toshiyuki Kiuchi

Monday, March 14, 2011

April Sours on the Horizon (April 16, from noon until 5 p.m.)

With the official launch of spring less than a week away, it’s time for those April Sours to take center stage at Jimmy’s. Afterall, nothing wakes up our palates from winter’s heavy, stronger beers quite like refreshing, food-friendly sour and lambic beers! On Saturday, April 16, from noon until 5 p.m., Jimmy’s No. 43 and Beermenus will team up to feature some of the top boutique importers—Shelton Brothers, B United, and 12 Percent—alongside some of the best, select American sour beers. Traditional lambics and flemish reds from Belgium along with Berliner Weisse from Germany now have spawned sour/wild yeast beers in America, Italy and Canada.

Included with the expo-style small batch, new and classic sour beers will be food pairings, including local cheese, charuterie and chocolate. Our top pairing? Charcuterie and Flemish sour: Sam Barbieri's head cheese with vintage Rodenbach! The menu below offers a full day of eating and drinking. Click here for details on special pricing for tickets!

Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Weisse 11.2oz & 30L keg
Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Weisse w/Bretanomyces 30L keg
Bayerischer Bahnhof Porticus (Doppel Porter w/Bretanomyces) 11.2oz
Bayerischer Bahnhof Leipziger Gose 11.2oz & 30L keg
Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse 16.9oz & 30L keg
Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Gruit 16.9oz

Hanssens Oud Geueze 12.7oz & 25.4oz
Hanssens Kriek 12.7oz & 25.4oz
Hanssens Experimental Raspberry 12.7oz
Hanssens Scaranbecca Kriek 2009 12.7oz
De Dolle Oerbier 11.2oz
De Dolle Special Extra Export Stout 11.2oz
and maybe something special from Smisje

BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien (2005, 2007, and 2009 available) 25.4oz
BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien Grand Cru Edition 12.7oz

Dolli Raptor
Bran Reserva
Quarta Runa
BB Dexi

Hopfenstark boson de higgs rauch Berlinerweisse (Quebec)
Hopfenstark saison du repois sour saison (Quebec)

B UNITED—will include Belgian, Italian, German

(All from Belgium)
De ranke kriek
De ranke cuvee de ranke
Drei fonteinen oude gueze
Drei fonteinen schaerbeekse kriek
Cantillon classic gueze
Cantillon kriek
Cantillon rose de gambrinus
Cantillon cuvee des champions

Rodenbach vintage
Boon kriek.

Cascade kriek
Leelanau selection
Jolly pumpkin selection
Allagash selection
The bruery selection
White birch selection
Blind bat selection

Food provided by:
Jimmy's No.43 (whole ham legs)
The Piggery (charcuterie)
Salumeria Biellese (assorted salami)
Heritage Foods (heritage bacon, heritage prosciutto)
East village meat market (sausages, kielbasa)
Ricks Picks Pickles
Orwashers Bread
Roni Sue Chocolate

More to come!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Shelton Brothers Beer Weekend Starts 3/17

One of the qualities that craft beer drinkers share is a love of travel. Some of us travel vicariously (a great Danish beer in a dark lounge transports us to Copenhagen, for example). Other craft beer lovers take their traveling a bit more seriously. If you are Dan Shelton, one-half of the fabulous Shelton Brothers - whose beers we are featuring starting on St. Patrick's Day through 3/20 - you end up doing some serious traveling. That's serious with a capital "S". Dan travels places most of us can only dream to go... occasionally those dreams border on nightmare.

Thus is was a few days ago that we here at Jimmy's started trying to track Dan down during his European travels. On his way from Brussels, Dan ended up in Hawaii. Note the timestamp to this post. Last night Dan was evacuated from his hotel as the devastating earthquake hit Japan and sent tsunami waves his way. He spent the night, sheltered in a car, up on high ground. So, what's a craft beer lover to do while waiting out a natural disaster? Answer a few questions posed by Jimmy's, of course!

Shelton Brothers were featured at the very first public tasting Jimmy's No. 43 ever held. What do you remember about that day? 
The main thing I remember is that we never got paid for any of the beer! I later found out that it was all considered to be a generous "donation," which marks the occasion as the start of my now long and illustrious career in philanthropy. The other thing I remember from that day is that Jimmy introduced me to the handful of folks who came out to drink with us (thanks, Malted Barley Appreciation Society!) as the guy who introduced him to good beer. He also described the way in which I did that, which was to sit, drunk, and verbally beat on him for having only junk on tap. “I thought you were a real asshole,” Jimmy said later, in a voice that suggested that maybe the past tense wasn’t entirely apt. But then I diligently followed up on a second trip by forcing him to down some respectable stuff. The next thing you know, we were teaming up to do a charity beer tasting, and the rest is history. This is a great example, by the way, of my patented sales technique. I love Jimmy at least partly because he’s the one guy I can point to who demonstrates that the technique actually works.  

One of the things we love to do at Jimmy's is pair great food with great beer. What are some of your more memorable food/beer pairings? 
I tend to pair beer with other beer, pretty much exclusively. I find anyway that beer appreciation is situational; you can never drink the same beer twice, and it makes a big difference where you are and whom you’re with.  My most memorable pairing (most of them I just forget) took place on the roof of my house in Massachusetts, trying to catch the sunset with my high school pal Mike. I went with a Mahr's Ungespundet, paired with a second Mahr's Ungespundet, as did Mike. The two were nearly a perfect match. We followed up with several more bottles of Mahr's Ungespundet, which also harmonized beautifully. I don't remember how we got up on the roof, or how we got down, but I recall that no one was seriously hurt. That, friends, is a great beer pairing.

And, by the way, here's a tip: It's bad news for the waistline when you stop drinking beer for a prolonged period and start relying on food for most of your essential nutrients. Also, matching big beers with dripping fatty foods is caloric suicide. If you really must eat food, go vegetarian. And think of beer not so much as something to be paired with food, but as another course in the meal. Finally, if you're relying on the book He Said Beer, She Said Wine, don't take the beer pairing advice too seriously. Avoid taking XX Bitter with a tuna fish salad sandwich, for example.    

If you could only drink one beer for a night (we're not sadists; we wouldn't ask anyone to hold out longer than a day!), what would you choose and why? 
Assuming that “night” starts at about 5 p.m. and ends at about 5 a.m., amounting to approximately 12 hours of drinking, I would make it a lower-alcohol beer that has loads of character and flavor but won’t do any structural damage and won’t cause you do to anything that you’ll have to apologize or pay a fine for the next morning. I’d go with either Riner, from Spain, Taras Boulba from Belgium, or High & Mighty Beer of the Gods, from my brother Will—whatever I can find where I happen to be.   
Shelton Brothers scour the world in search of the best among rare brews. What's your scariest beer travel story with a happy ending? 
The scariest stories date back to the time before there was a Shelton Brothers, with a capital “B.” For example, the time in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, when a friend and I stayed out so late drinking Cerveza Gallo (not so rare in Guatemala, admittedly) that we got locked out of our castle-like hotel, and I had to scale the walls up three floors to find someone inside to open the big iron front gate. That was in 1994.

Since we started Shelton Brothers in 1996, what sticks out in my mind is the time that a friend and I spent most of the night at Dolle Brouwers with Kris Herteleer, trying countless “vintages” of his entire range of beers. (Kris was very generous about it.) I have a hard time leaving any good beer unfinished. At the end, sometime after midnight, we rejected the suggestion that we get a hotel in town, and headed for Brussels. After a time, I realized that I was driving more off the road than on and decided to spend the night at a rest stop. In the car. It was February. After a few hours, it started to get very cold in the car, and I decided to turn it on and get some heat going, but I couldn't find the keys. My friend had a flashlight, so we spent an hour or two poking around in the woods, trying to find the place where I had crawled in earlier to, uh, empty the bowels, where I figured the car keys must have dropped out of my pocket. We eventually did locate the spot, but no keys. We went back to the car, and spent what seemed like another hour fretting about our situation. How were we going to get ourselves and the car away from this rest stop in the woods in the middle of nowhere and back to Brussels? At some point, someone suggested that we look more carefully in the car for those keys, and naturally they turned out to be wedged between the driver's and passenger's seats. My friend punched me in the face, and, about a decade later, we both had a great laugh about it.    

Do you remember the first time you drank a great beer and knew that beer was a drink to relish, not chug? Would you please tell us about that moment of revelation?
No. I still chug beer, when I'm feeling healthy and happy. In my opinion, you can't really taste a beer without getting a few good mouthfuls and taking it down precipitously. People who take a sip of beer, swish it around, and spit it out haven't got a clue. And if you really have a good beer in your hand, you want to keep it rolling over your tongue for a good long while as you talk about it with your drinking companions. I don't have a whole lot of time for the imperial stouts and barley wines, etc., that seem to attract the attention of the self-described beer aficionados. Real good beer, for me, as I said, is the kind you can chug and relish at the same time, without becoming a danger to yourself and others. 

Photo credit courtesy of

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jimmy's No. 43 Launches Beer Steward Program

One of the truly great things about coming to Jimmy's No. 43 are the really amazing people who frequent the bar. Some of them have an incredible knowledge of beer, whether as members of the NYC Homebrewer's Guild, the Real Alewives of NYC, students of the Beer Judge Certification Program or the Cicerone Beer Server program, among the many beer-related educational and enthusiast groups. The Volunteer Beer Steward program is a way to formally organize some of these knowledgeable beer lovers to help out with the many educational tasting and pairing programs at Jimmy's No 43. Please meet one of our new Volunteer Beer Stewards... Brett Thompson!

Please tell us briefly about who you are and why you decided to become a Volunteer Beer Steward at Jimmy's No. 43. 

I am a married father of one who loves good craft beer and occasionally finds time to brew some at home. I met Jimmy through volunteering at several events that he hosted last year (Meatopia, Pig Island, and Brewers Choice). When he emailed me to asked if I would be interested in helping out with his Tuesday Tastings, I jumped at the chance.

What is your relationship to beer and why is good beer important to you?

I started homebrewing almost two years ago and from that experience learned that good beer—craft beer—can be a work of art the same way a well-cooked meal or a touchdown pass can. Just the right arch on the ball. The perfect amount of cocoa in the Five-Alarm Chili. That unique bit of hopping to add just the right subtle undertone of grapefruit to a pale ale can make all the difference. To me beer is something to be experienced with food, life, friends and by yourself.

What's the most memorable beer tasting you can remember?

My most memorable tasting is probably my first exposure to good beer. In Bellingham, WA, at Boundary Bay Brewery, they have a scotch ale that is like a meal made from the Gods of the Highlands. Every time I head back there I always grab a pint or three. More recently it would probably at Brewers Choice last year; just the shear volume of choices from Ommegang to Pretty Things to Goose Island and Kelso. I went home a happy man that night. 

You walk into a bar (with or without the priest and rabbi) and don't recognize the names of any of the craft beers on the menu. Describe to the bartender, in beer terminology, what you want to drink.

If it is a hot day, I might ask for a pale ale with some good solid hoppiness to it. A cold day might be more of a stout with good roasted flavors and thick head. I may just ask him the last time the lines have been cleaned and, if he can't remember, get a glass of water.

Any favorite beer literature you could recommend for our book club?

A book that was immensely helpful to me in understanding how beer is made is How to Brew by John Palmer. The book covers the basics of homebrewing up to advanced topics such as the correct water profile for different types of beer. It helped me to identify off flavors in beer, both ones I made and ones in commercial examples, and helped broaden my horizons to beers that seemed exotic to me (Saisons and Sour Ales are now two of my favorites). 

What times/days do you plan to be available at Jimmy's as a Volunteer Beer Steward and what kinds of services do you hope to provide?
I will be working at Jimmy's No 43 this Tuesday (3/8) and every third Tuesday going forward. We have a rotation of three Stewards helping at the tastings. When I am pouring samples for the tastings I try to (1) not spill, (2) be as helpful as possible in answering questions regarding the beers being poured (or telling people where the bathroom is), and (3) making sure that everyone is having a good time and learning about new beers

Final thoughts…

A big thanks to Jimmy for letting me help with this. I love beer, and watching other people get turned on to great craft beer is awesome.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3/31/11 Ultimate Smackdown: Beer v. Wine

Yankees/Red Sox, Bears/Packers, dogs/cats. Everyone loves a good rivalry and few are better, or more hotly contested, than Beer v. Wine. Join Urban Oyster, Swirl Events, and Jimmy’s No. 43 as we put beer and wine to the test with you as the judge. At this event, you’ll taste four different dishes, each paired with wine and beer, and then we’ll vote on which was the best pairing. Urban Oyster’s beer guru will face off against Swirl Events wine experts in a fight to the end…of the glass that is! While helping judge the winner, you’ll learn all about tasting beer and wine like a professional, as well as how to pair them both with food to enhance flavors and experience. Finally you’ll be introduced to some of the best craft beers and wines out there so you can stock your wine fridge, cellar, kegerator, etc., when you get home. For more info and how to buy tickets, click here!