A few years ago, a beer store quietly nestled into the space between the old Coco 66/68 and the corner delis. Ever since, Brouwerij Lane has managed to bring to the neighborhood access to and love for those beers that even the best-stocked specialty stores have trouble finding.
This month, on December 12, they participated in a sale that put even their exceptional tap list to shame: the one-time-only release of what many consider to be the world’s best beer, the Trappist abbey Westvleteren’s XII.
Long story short, this stuff is usually only available by making the trek to the abbey in Belgium. The monks needed a new roof for the abbey, and financed it with a one-time international sale of their already world-renowned beer.
Naturally, even before the beer was actually sold it was the subject of many a column-filling news piece. I was lucky enough to run into Erik Olsen, of Brouwerij Lane, at the Greenpointers Holiday Market this year and place an advance order for a gift set.
He told me what the process was like to distribute one of the world’s rarest beers.
Erik was contacted by one of his distributors a few weeks prior to the December 12th sale date and offered the chance to distribute the beer. Most interesting were the restrictions placed on the sale: although the beer could definitely have retailed for much more, distributors were prohibited from selling individual bottles and encouraged to only sell a single six-bottle gift set to each customer for $85.
While this might seem pricey, stores like Brouwerij Lane aren’t making a profit off this – they paid $82.50 for each box and were limited to between 16 and 80 gift sets. Of the 20 they ended up buying, they had pre-orders for every one of those before they released them on the 12th. That hasn’t stopped beer hunters from calling them non-stop about it – three calls just in the time it took to answer my questions. This has also fostered a thriving resale market in flagrant violation of the monks’ wishes for the sale. Sadly, none of the beer scalpers responded to my emails so I can’t say if people actually pay this much, but the asking price seems to be at least $400 for the set and as much as $1,000.
Even if you didn’t manage to get your paws on a Westy, Brouwerij Lane is a great spot to pick up bottles for your co-workers and a fresh pint for yourself. Many consider the Westvleteren to be highly regarded more for its rarity than flavor, so there’s plenty of other Trappist beers on their shelves if you’d like to see what all the fuss was about.
We are very proud of Will Star, talented photographer and contributor to Greenpointers, who will be showing a solo exhibition of his photographs of Greenpoint at Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Ave.) The show opens this evening at 7pm. Don’t miss it!
Hello Greenpoint. I’m Will Star, local photographer, and one of the newest contributor to The Greenpointers. I’ll be posting photography from the neighborhood regularly and building out some projects I’ve been working on for the past few years. You can expect posed and candid street portraits regularly, interview projects, and snippets of Greenpoint life through my lens. I like to use a variety of cameras and formats, shooting mostly film, but you might catch the occasional digital photo snuck in here too (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
This set of images feature the dudes who work at Brouwerij Lane (pronounced: Brow-er-ee Lane). They all really know their stuff about the different types of beer they carry and can help you identify what you’re into.
Now, I like shooting here for three main reasons:
The window light is fantastic.
The people are cool (staff & patrons).
They have beer.
And lastly, I have a photo of our fearless leader, Jen G, from the first day I met her. One of my favorite portraits from this spot. (note: she does not work at Brouwerij Lane)
I hope you enjoy the photographs, and I look forward to contributing on a weekly basis.
Tonight contributors will meet at Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Ave) at 7pm. The meetings have been very successful, a great time to talk about the neighborhood, meet people and create original and exciting content for the website that matters to you. Join us tonight!
Hilary, new contributor, whose story is coming this week, mentions her work for Greenpointers on her website. Look out, Hilary is awesome!
Greenpoint’s favorite beer store had a barley wine tasting. What a perfectly snowy weekend to drink strong beer by a wood burning stove. Learning and drinking are two activities I enjoy and combining them is even more fun, although retention can be a challenge. To be honest, I don’t know shit about beer.
Good thing Erik and Frances, the beer geniuses who work at Brouwerij Lane, and my man Jon, who is a home brewer, were there to school me. I was so sorry when I asked, “Do you think there are more wine makers or beer makers?” After an in-depth discussion (I wasn’t even listening) the final answer was, “Who cares, beer is better anyway!” I was bound to learn something from this bunch of beer nerds.
We were served a flight of 5 barley wines (totaling 40 oz!) on a laminated guide detailing each brew. If you don’t know what Barley Wines are, I can tell you one thing: they are knock you on your butt strong. It is a type of beer that is “brewed to match the strength of wine,” about 12% or more alcohol, according to our handy placemat. They are nice and sweet and very easy to drink. It was wise that we shared the 40 oz. flight.
We tasted the following:
Pretty Things Finest Regards, The Bruery Cuir, Firestone Walker XV, Avery Hog Heaven, and BFM & Terrapin Spike & Jeromes.
Between each flight we drank a lot of water, because the barley wine leaves such a lasting flavor in your mouth. The flavors and colors between each varied very much. This is my first session of really trying to understand the flavors happening in my mouth, instead of just mindlessly chugging.
“Coconuts!” I kept getting the taste of coconuts and I liked it. Frances didn’t believe until he sipped and agreed. Erik explained that Barley wines are aged in oak barrels, which accounts for what is more likely vanilla rather than a pina colada flavor, like the Cuir which is aged in bourbon barrels. Or the XV, which is blended with Stout so it was chocolatey, too.
Ever drink with a beer snob and they are like, “this is really hoppy” or “this is really malty” and you are like “what is this guy talking about”? I better learn if I want to hang with this crowd.
According to Jon, hops are a flower, which contribute bitterness to balance the sweetness in beer. They give flavor and aroma to a beer which can range from fresh cut grass to pine needles to citrus to herbal earthiness. How lovely! A good example from the barley wines we tasted was the Hog Heaven, in which you could smell the pungent hops before even tasting it, which were piney and citrusy.
Jon explains that malt is the sugar that ferments in beer to make alcohol and carbonation, but some sugar remains and that residual sugar is what gives beer it’s sweet flavor and “mouth feel,” which is how thick or watery the beer is in your mouth. Malt flavors can be a basic sweetness or can taste roasted, or like coffee or chocolate or caramel. Our Finest Regards was very malty and the best example of a traditional English Barley Wine and our favorite of the flight.
• Collaborative Means@ Flux Factory (39-31 29th St, LIC) 7pm, FREE, A series of artists working collaboratively and collectively, relying on cooperative strategies for the realization of ambitious projects. Talks, screenings, and live performances. More info
• Smiths Karaoke@ Black Rabbit (91 Greenpoint) 8pm, 2 mics & some Cure songs available, too.
• Public Hearing: Open Space Alliance@ Swinging Sixties Senior Center (211 Ainslie) 6:30-8pm, discuss relocation East River State Park Concerts
• Pretty Things Babayaga Launch Party @ Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint) 7-10pm, Jim Garnes spins you favorite soviet hits
• The L Mag & Northside Festival’s A Very Unofficial CMJ Party @ Cameo Gallery (93 N 6th St) 1:30pm-4:30pm, FREE, performances by Hunters, PUJOL, Widowspeak, Forest Fire & Heavenly Eat
• Supper Club @ Greenpoint Reformed Church (106 Milton) 6:30pm, $20, 4 Course Vegetarian Meal with Cocktails, plus performance by Holler, Benefits Soup Kitchen, RVSP annefay (at) gmail.com. More info
• Open Call Show @ Greenpoint Gallery (390 McGuinness) 8pm, Open Call for Artists in all Mediums, win $200 & solo exhibition, More info
• Ugly Art Room Presents All That Remains @ Picture Farm (338 Wythe) Opening Reception 7-9pm, An International Collage Exhibition of Epic Proportions, Sponsored by Narragansett beer, Music by DJ Ning Nong RSVP
• BK Diggers 150th Anniversary Celebration @ McGolrick Park, 1-4pm, a collective of activists, artists and historians whose aim is to reclaim the psycho geography of our neighborhoods and expose ignored perspectives in history
• Vibes to Touch Open Mic & Art Show @ TBD (224 Franklin) 9pm, FREE, Performance by Aisling Peartree, Artwork by Rico Tomas, Poetry By: Fiya, Ada Reyes, Bert Tejeda, D.Limones, Jendog LoneWolf RSVP
• 48 HRS @ Camel Art Space (722 Metropolitan) 12pm-12am, artists meet for a marathon art-making session, sleep over in the space and exhibit their work the next day. The entire event will take place over a 48-Hrs, RSVP
• Newtown Creek Boat Tours @ Pier 17 South Street Seaport, 10-12/1-3, $10. Charter tours the length of the Newtown Creek. Buy Tickets
• Brokelyn.com’s Brokedown Throwdown @ Public Assembly (70 N6) 3-7pm, $5, Sixpoint Open Bar 3-4pm, “Yo Momma So Broke” Contest, Costume Contest, Mushroom Ride
• Carve for Farms Benefit @ Warsaw (261 Driggs) 4-8pm, $10 Kids/$12 Adults, a Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA pumkin carving and food fest benefit for farms devastated by Hurricane Irene. Pumpkin Pierogis!
• The Mac Off @ Huckleberry Bar (588 Grand) 5-8pm, $10 to judge & eat, Free to compete: email info (at) theclaque.org, proceeds benefit The ClaqueRSVP
• County Fair Opening Party @ Orange Marmalade (421 Graham) 6-9pm, Vintage Men’s & Women’s, Kitchenware, Oddities, Whisky! More info
• Momofuku Milk Bar Book Event with Christina Tosi @ The Brooklyn Kitchen (100 Frost) Christina will show you some of her sweet and savory recipes and you can get a signed copy of the book at a discount, RSVP
• EPA Newtown Creek Superfund Public Meetings @ St. Nick’s Alliance (2 Kingsland, Garden Level) 20m, 4pm, 7pm, 9pm, An informal public info session hosted by the EPA to discuss upcoming field work at the Newtown Creek Superfund site as part of the first phase of the remedial investigation. EPA representatives will be available to answer questions.
• What the Hell Are You Doing? with David Shrigley@ Word (126 Franklin) 7pm – authortalks about new book, Q&A, get “inked” with sharpies & enter for a chance to win a tattoo from East River Tattoo, lemonade & donuts
• Oktoberfest @ Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Ave) Sat. & Sun. All Day, beer, pretzels, sausage.
• Project Collective Presents When Ends Meat @ The End (13 Greenpoint Ave @ West) 7pm until late. $5 – music by Supercrush, local artwork curated by Ava Hassinger. Proceeds are donated to Brooklyn High School of the Arts.
• Annual Parish Picnic @ St. Stanislaus Kostka Church (Driggs & Newel) 11:30am-6pm, food, dancing, raffles and games for kids. Fun for all!
• SASS Presents: The Holy Crusades! @ Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer) 7-8:30pm, Society for the Advancement of Social Studies
monthly Monday lecture series explores how “Christianity got its groove back,” games, themed drink RSVP
• Want to take a Basic Drawing Class at Ascension with Bob Corr? Interest & more info email ascensionbrooklyn (at) gmail.com.
• Starting this weekend Eastern District (1053 Manhattan) will be open every Friday & Saturday until 9pm!
• Starting Monday, September 26, you can dine at Goodyoga(73 Calyer) every weeknight, or take out your meal in a stainless steel tiffin lunchbox. Pre-order – 20 meals for $200/month. Yum!