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Brooklyn Brewery, grow a pair

One of the best things about living in New York City is that every last deli, grocery store, and bodega in the city will, in addition to the usual assortment of watery domestic piss that goes under the name of “beer” in less enlightened parts of the country, have several varieties of beer from the Brooklyn Brewery, out of some sense of hometown pride, I suppose. This is indisputably a good thing, as it provides one with the comforting assurance that no matter the hour, no matter what god-awful place your drunken revelry may take you, when sobriety draws dangerously near, you will be able to beat it back screaming into the darkness with something that comes within spitting distance of compliance with the Reinheitsbegot. It’s hard to argue that any of the varieties of Brooklyn beer are bad beers. The problem is that, well…they’re mostly boring.


 I’ve tried to get excited about the products of the Brooklyn Brewery, since, at least for now, Ich bin Brooklyner. I’ve tried the Brooklyn Lager and the Brooklyn Pilsner. I’ve tried the Brooklyn Brown Ale. I’ve tried the Brooklyn Winter Ale, the Brooklyn  East India Pale Ale and even the Brooklyn Pennant Ale. None of them are unpleasant to the tongue. However, they are all, without exception, all variations on the theme of an India Pale Ale. They’re all rather hoppy ales (even the lager), with the main difference in taste between them being the amount of hops in them. Now, I like a good hoppy IPA as much as the next beer-drinking man, but it strikes me as odd that a company’s entire product line would be minor variations upon one master recipe.The best of the bunch is probably the East India Pale Ale, which embraces its nature fully. It’s quite hoppy (though nothing as much as, say,  the crazier Dogfish Head IPAs), and, as is normal for an IPA, that pretty much defines it. I like IPAs a lot, and many is the night where I’ll stop by the deli on my way home from work to grab some of this. I’m glad that they make it.  

But come on, Brooklyn Brewery.You’ve got a guaranteed market for your beers (see previous comment concerning ubiquity in New York City).  Why not use the opportunity to try some variety and introduce people to something they haven’t tried before? How about a stout (we really do need a widely available domestically produced alternative to Guinness – there’s nothing wrong with it, but c’mon, surely good old American know-how can do better!), or a porter? Or an ESB? A Belgian-style ale would be nice. The possibilities are endless.   

In summation, I like you, Brooklyn Brewery. You guarantee that I can get decent beer anywhere in the city. But seriously, grow a pair. Leave the IPA comfort zone. I don’t think you’ll find New York to be an unappreciative audience. 


  1. Adam,

    I agree that their so-called core brands are exactly as you describe, but Brooklyn does make the some of the products you mention. I’m a big fan of their Black Chocolate Stout, but that’s a seasonal beer, available only in winter.

    However, I know it’s around now, because I have a six in my fridge. Not every bodega carries, but it still shouldn’t be hard to find.

    There’s also a Belgian-style ale, Local 1, which is available year-round and always at Whole Foods, among other places. It’s in a 750ml bottle and closed with a champagne-style cork top.

    They’ve done both a porter and a bitter, but these styles seem to come and go. I’ve had the porter on tap; it’s good.

    Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 08:58:04 | Permalink
  2. adam wrote:


    You are, of course, right, and I should perhaps have done a little more research before letting the spirits move me.

    However, I submit that perhaps if they eliminated a few of the identical-tasting brands from their lineup and replaced them with the now-rarer varieties, they’d become less rare.

    Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 12:15:12 | Permalink
  3. Quimfinger wrote:

    The manager at my local package store pronounces it “BrookLINE”, even after being corrected.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 12:13:03 | Permalink