When I visited the graffiti-crusted walls of Williamsburg, Brooklyn five years ago, there were two things that sustained me for the entirety of the trip: real New York pizza and crystal-clear Brooklyn Lager. At the time, I recall asking why their beer had yet to be distributed on the west coast instead of going for overseas exports. “It’s easy, people oversees are starved for American craft beer…California? We’re not sure if the timing is right,” noted the Brooklyn Brewery tour guide.
I guess the timing is right as Brooklyn beer has infiltrated California borders this month. One thing is certain, fitting into our insane craft beer climate is like playing Tetris on expert while on ludes.
Luckily, Brooklyn has something many local breweries lack: strong branding, name recognition, and an authored brewmaster with Garrett Oliver (that has a couple books that happen to sit on my dusty bookshelf as I write this). That being said, it doesn’t hurt that what’s in the bottle is completely delicious.
In the back of Oliver’s book The Brewmaster’s Table, the best pairing for Brooklyn’s Lager is pizza. While the thought of a crisp Pilsner might seem more appropriate, the book notes, “a touch of malt sweetness can do wonders for the versatility of a beer. The sweetness gives the beer a way to grab onto the sugar in the tomato sauce…while a snappy bitterness cuts through the cheese and the caramel flavors find an echo in the browned crust.” Indeed.
Check out Garrett Oliver’s The Brewmaster’s Table on Amazon.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening this June!