New York State’s 9 Best Beers
Disagree with our choices? Air your grievances in the comments below...we dare you. (The following list was written by Michael Pomranz for Playboy.com)
- •FLOWER POWERIthaca Beer Company, Ithaca. In today’s current brewing climate, it can be hard to remember that back around the turn of the millennium when Ithaca started brewing their Flower Power, not every brewery had a signature IPA. Ithaca’s offering immediately became one of New York’s most acclaimed craft beers, and it still holds up today: simultaneously piney and pineapple-y, both floral and slightly sweet, and balanced in a way that, a decade later, many IPAs still can’t quite get right.
- •RUN LIKE AN APRICOTPrison City Pub and Brewery, Auburn. Though only open for less than a year, this small brewery near the Finger Lakes has already burst onto the scene with a diverse profile of beers from Belgians to Berliner Weisses. While the former landed them a silver medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, my tastes lean towards the latter. Prison City’s Run Like an Apricot is an extremely well executed Berliner full of lactic tartness and delightful apricot notes.
- •DOUBLE WHITE ALESouthampton Publick House, Southampton. Another brewer that’s earned its stripes, Southampton’s take on a “double strength” Witbier is as big as it purports to be: a massive mouthfeel that gives way to plenty of complimenting orange citrus tang and coriander spice. And yet it’s anything but oppressive, still maintaining the delicateness and drinkability you’d hope for in a Belgian-style white.
- •PUMKINGSouthern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood. Back before pumpkin beers (along with pumpkin everything else) became so popular they emerged as practically the joke of the brewing world; Southern Tier unleashed an imperial pumpkin ale that was truly worthy of its “king” nomenclature. Pumpkin brews can focus on everything from seasonal spices to fresh harvest flavors. Meanwhile, Pumking tastes like shoving an entire pumpkin pie down your mouth, sweet graham cracker crust and all.
- •CUVEE DE CASTLETONCaptain Lawrence Brewing Company, Elmsford. If you’re only familiar with Captain Lawrence’s core lineup of year-round beers, like their super quaffable Liquid Gold and Freshchester Pale Ale, you might be surprised to see the brewer included here. But among their cavalcade of specialty beers are a number of unique, acclaimed and exquisite barrel-aged brews including Cuvee de Castleton, a delicate sour made with Muscat grapes and aged on French oak.
- •DOUBLE BARREL JESUSEvil Twin Brewing, Brooklyn (*kind of). Ever since Jarnit-Bjergso decided to move his family to Brooklyn in 2012, many have come to label Evil Twin as a New York City-based brewery. For those who buy into that logic, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include one of his brews—like this velvety and viscous, chocolatey and complex barrel-aged imperial stout—on our list. So though you can debate this beers inclusion based on location, you’ll have a tough time doing so based on its quality.
- •RAINBOW DOMEGrimm Artisanal Ales, Brooklyn. Their Double Negative Imperial Stout has medaled in two consecutive Great American Beer Festivals, but for my money, I love their Rainbow Dome, an oaked and dry-hopped wild ale brewed with apricots with an unfolding diversity of flavors from fruity to tart to dry that takes your taste buds on a colorful trip.
- •SIMPLE SOURPeekskill Brewery, Peekskill. Don’t let the name fool you: Though Simple Sour might go down easy, this hybrid beer is surprisingly complex in design. Based on the already slightly sour Berliner Weisse style, Peekskill hits the brew with brettanomyces yeast to give it a little extra pucker and funk, but balances out those flavors by using not only wheat, but also corn in the mash, for a touch of added sweetness.
- •BOOGIE BOARD STUNTZOther Half certainly didn’t need any help to land a spot on this list. Pretty much any of this hop-forward brewery’s amazing single, double or triple IPAs are worthy of inclusion —or even this top spot. That said, when one of New York City’s best new breweries collaborated with one of Maine’s best new breweries, Bunker, the resulting beer, Boogie Board Stuntz, set the standard for how a delicately-hopped, delightfully drinkable summer beer should be—a Kolsch.