It was fitting that the locale for the “Winter Is Coming” tasting was held in the open air garage of Brooklyn Brewery where all guests were in coats gathered in close quarters. This premier from Tom Price was the 5th in the “Worshipful Company of Brewers” series. The series dictates that each member of the team will design and create his/her own batch of draft only beer. The beer will only be served at Brooklyn Brewery (in their tasting room) until it runs out, each having the possibility to graduate up to being distributed via Brooklyn’s Brewmaster’s Reserve series of limited edition beers.
To rehash my roots as a beer drinker, I got turned onto the true possibilities of beer before the Craft Beer craze had truly taken off, at least in NYC. My tastes are rooted in Belgian wittes and German pilsners. My palette has since severely evolved but I’ve never quite been taken with darks or stouts. Lately though, I’ve been seeing that change, especially as I lean toward more American craft iterations of the stout and avoid my personal nemesis, English ales and stouts (sorry England). The amazing thing about drinking a wide variety of beer is this transformation to your palette, 5 years ago I’m not sure, but today I walked into Brooklyn Brewery with a very open mind regarding “Winter Is Coming”. I was rewarded.
Sort of like a brand new wool sweater, you could feel that heavy warmth, but it was still smooth and crisp and drank just easy enough. I drank threw 3 glasses of “Winter Is Coming” and I felt fully satisfied in flavor, warmth and alcohol volume, it struck a near perfect balance. The great thing about “Winter Is Coming” was the transformation it made in the glass as it sits in your hand. The profile kept moving, kept you wanting more down to the last drop, almost to the point where you were getting several different tasting experiences from the same brew. By the end of the tasting I could also feel my own transformation was complete as well. This is now an open invite to darker styles: I’m on the hunt.
The full capacity gathering brought together friends of the brewery, staff and a smattering of beer nerds like myself. The backdrop was the brewery itself, on open visual display were several of the breweries tanks, some of them gleefully spewing liquids to release pressure which added to the ambiance In the foreground was a large bottling machine, seemingly used for items like Local 1 & 2 and Soriachi Ace. Being a novice to the inner workings of breweries, I found it great to geek out about these sort of machines being right in front of me and I wasn’t alone in this.
Toward the end of the night the always energetic Garrett Oliver introduced Tom Price to the crowd, thanking him for the creation and bringing attention to Tom’s Ivy League credentials. Tom, for one, was a seemingly shy master. Like the DJ that speaks with his hands, Tom spoke with his beer. He openly acknowledged not looking forward to this part of the night, said some brief words and ended with a toast that the room quickly joined in on, glasses raised.
All in all, the night and the beer was a success, “Winter Is Coming” has actually now arrived. Those cold nights in the Brooklyn Brewery tasting room will be no more as long as Tom’s creation is flowing through the tap.
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