For its most recent excursion, the BeerMenus team headed to Greenpoint, Brooklyn and hunkered down in a bomb-shelter-of-a basement. But why? Was it for the earthy wafts of subterranean Pierogies?
Nope. We headed out to collaborate with another great local brewery: Keg & Lantern Brewing Company.
Backstory: Why Keg & Lantern?
Our co-founder Will met Brett Taylor, K & L's brewer, about 7 years ago. Their relationship started as teammates: they were in Cobble Hill Brooklyn, participating in a contest to see who could slide a pint of beer furthest down 61 Local's bar.
No one remembers who won, but the relationship blossomed. They began homebrewing together regularly, and also headed west in 2015 to attend Hop School at Yakima Chief Hop Union.
Our favorite fact about the relationship: Will and Brett look very similar, and also have very similar tastes in beer. As a result, they often get confused by members of the NYC beer community.
There really is nothing like a solid doppelganger situation.
Now, K & L's other brewer Jeff is no stranger, either. He's been brewing in the city since the beer scene really took off a few years ago. Most recently he was at Greenpoint Beer & Ale, which is churning out some seriously amazing IPAs. It's a regular stop on the team's beer rounds.
Worlds collided when the dynamic duo started working at Keg & Lantern: we loved the beers Jeff had been pumping out of Greenpoint Beer and Ale, and the longtime personal and brewing relationship with Brett meant that we wanted to get involved, ASAP.
We sort of backed into the recipe for this beer by imagining an idyllic scene: a gentleman or lady stops by Keg & Lantern and grabs a crowler of their BeerMenus collab. That person then heads over to McCarren Park, drinks all of said crowler under a London Plane Tree, then gets on with their day without any ill effects.
That meant we wanted something right around 5% ABV.
But we still had to decide on style. One of Will's favorite beers in all the universe is Bissel Brothers Lux, which the brewery describes as a tropical rye pale ale. The malt bill includes a little bit of spicy rye and the featured hops hail from New Zealand.
Malt and hops decided, the last piece was yeast. Kolsch yeast—sort of a mix between ale and lager yeast—has been working well at Keg and Lantern. It also makes for a lighter and easier drinking beer, which is ideal for this time of the year.
Here's the full run down:
Pilsner malt base + 15% malted rye
Whirlpool: 5 lbs of Mosaic and 5 lbs of Motueka during whirlpool
Dry Hopping: 5 lbs of Mosaic and 5 lbs of Motueka
K & L house Kolsch yeast
Many hands (18, to be exact) make light work on a 3BBL system, and our team managed to take all of the heavy lifting off the brew team's hands. We arrived in the morning, dumped in a little more than 250 pounds of grain, stirred the pot for a bit, then decided it was time for a break.
Several skull-sized burritos later, we were well into the afternoon, so that meant sampling. Keg & Lantern produces a rotating list of 20 house beers, ranging from bright sours to crisp pilsners to hazy IPAs. Most of the team snuck off for suds right after lunch, while Will and Gage tackled their favorite part of the brewing process: dumping obscene amounts of hops into the whirlpool.
All in all, they added 10 pounds of hops, equal parts Mosaic and Motueka. Will likes this combo a lot, as the dank hop funk character of Mosaic mixes almost perfectly with the easier going tropical notes from Motueka.
Given the opportunity, the fellas would’ve lived in that moment forever. Sometimes you just have to let it linger, ya know?
The whirlpool hops added, the beer was ready for knockout. In went the Kolsch yeast and over to the fermenter the beer went.
Seeing our name on a fermentation vessel never gets old.
The initial readings: we were right on track for our 5%-ish goal.
Have you been tuned into the barrage of beer industry buyouts/investment announcements lately? If so, this beer's name likely needs no explanation.
But if not, here's where we were coming from. Just in the last month:
AB-InBev acquired Wicked Weed
Heineken purchased the remaining shares of Lagunitas
The Bruery sold to a VC firm
RateBeer announced that AB-InBev had purchased a minority share of its company last year.
Our reactions to these buyouts ranged widely from person-to-person, acquisition-to-acquisition, and hour-to-hour: “Shocking.” “Disappointing.” “Of course.” “Venture Capital? Really?” “God that's weird—why wait until the next year to announce it?”
What we were doing on May 25th was qualitatively different than any of that. Will put it best: “as of one year ago, myself, Brett, and Jeff were just a group of homebrewer friends. We made—and continue to make—beers we like to drink. We make it a point to have fun doing what we love, and the craft of it comes before profit margins. No compromises."
As we weighed our collaboration's name, this context never left our minds. The more we spoke, the more the phrase “integrity is rare” kept circling back to us. Given our unanimity of opinion, it seemed like an obvious choice. So the beer was named: Integrity is Rare.
Where to find Integrity is Rare
Distribution is a goofy game anywhere. That's especially true here in NYC. That said, we've confirmed the following bars will receive Integrity is Rare in the coming weeks. Click here to follow it and get notified when it shows up near you.