Brewing At 508

Bars, Beer, Beer Styles, Brewing, Business, Engineering, Equipment, History, Ingredients, NY Pro Am Brew PIT, Recipe

After a couple of weeks of kicking around some recipe ideas with Chris and finding the best time to brew we finally were able to collaborate on a new batch of beer. I got to brew into the wee hours of the night with Chris on his 2 bbl system to create Navidad Voyage. A recipe I based on a story that compliments some of the fare you’d find on their menu.

The story behind the beer is based on the third voyage of theSanta Maria, which we all know as the first ship in Columbus’ fleet to land in this great country now dubbed the U-S-of-A. Basically Columbus was not happy that he never really got to explore the West Indies like he had intended and wanted to take a crew down there to check it out. Well it just so happened by the time they got there it was Christmas Eve. And like a bunch of good Americans they decided to celebrate by breaking open the ale barrels.

As the crew started to celebrate more and more they were getting past the ability to steer the ship. So the duties passed off to the lower and lower crew mates until eventually the ship was being guided through the sea by the cabin boy. Not being very experienced at steering a ship he ended up running it into some rocks and damaging it beyond repair. The crew woke up to found they had crashed on Haiti and not being able to salvage the boat they decided to strip the timbers and turn it into a fort. He dubbed it La Navidad. And there it lives to this day. The boat that started it all crashed by a bunch of beer drinkers sitting on an island in the Caribbean.

Using this story we came up with a recipe for a standard English Bitter that they would most likely have on board. But decided to add some local flare with some Guava and All Spice. And being that we had so much fruit in the recipe we decide some salt would be a good addition to bring out the sweetness. Knowing that salt is a tricky substance to work with in beer this seemed like a prime opportunity to play around with it.

The beer is chugging along right now and we’re hoping to have it on tap end of the month. But if you’re not busy anyway why not stop by 508 for any of the other delicious brews on tap and come meet Charlie Papazian Oct 28 while you’re at it! If you can’t catch him at 508 head over to his book signing at Bitter & Esters Oct 29.

Chris has an amazing brewing system that he retrofitted in the restaurant basement. Not originally being thought of as a location to brew beer it’s amazing what one can do with a little creative energy. Just like any NYC homebrewer this system is something that’s unique and you wont find similar builds listed on r/homebrewing. I was super excited and lucky to brew on this set up even the cleaning didn’t seem like a chore! Thank you Chris for giving me the opportunity!

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508 Gastrobrewery

Bars, Beer, Beer Styles, Brewing, Business, History, NY Pro Am Brew PIT

I was lucky enough to go check out the 508 Gastrobrewery system the other day. (And more lucky because I’ll be brewing a batch of beer with it in a couple weeks!). It’s a pretty amazing set up. The brewery was kind of an afterthought for the restaurant and what you can find in there right now is little more than what you might expect to find in an overzealous homebrewer’s garage.

In the end it gets the job done and Chris Cuzme knows his setup well. Producing unique beers like THE BACON CHEESEBRÜGER. Where they actually smoke the malt over some delicious bacon burgers. Unfortunately they were out of the beer when I came in so I never had a chance to enjoy it but I’m sure it was delightful.

I did try everything else on the wall and some of my favorites were the M.V.B. and American Wheat Beer that doesn’t really drink like a wheat beer at all. It had a great body with a hint of having a wheat past but really reminded me more of an summer ale. I also really enjoyed the Rice Cream Ale a tribute to “The King of Beers”. So tasty it makes me wonder why Bud can’t get their S together and make a better brew themselves.

Also, Tuesday nights are $5 beer nights and Chris leads a live Jazz session on the sax. A great night to stop by and enjoy some music, great beer and delicious food.


A Day At Singlecut Beersmiths

Bars, Beer, Beer Styles, Brewing, Business, Engineering, Equipment, History, Ingredients, NY Pro Am Brew PIT, Recipe, Yeast

I’ve mentioned in a previous post  that I was a lucky son of a gun and was selected to compete in the NY Pro Am Brew PIT.  The first step in the process is to be paired with a brewery and then spend some time at their location to learn their process and how the formulate their recipes. From this experience the home brewer is sent off to his respective inspiration zone and create a recipe in the style of the brewery.

The brewery I’ve been paired with is Singlecut Beersmiths. To be honest I was a bad beer fan and had not visited this brewery before even though it’s in an adjacent borough. Same on me. But after spending the day there and learning about the brewery and tasting their delicious beers I realized I’ve done myself a disservice.

Singlecut specializes in unique lagers and hop forward ales that are inspired by rock musicians. The term “singlecut” comes from the style of guitar that has a single cut in the neck and makes it a more difficult instrument to play.  And that’s how they approach their brewing. No shortcuts!

This is a great mantra to pair with my home brew and personal style. I’m excited to collaborate on the recipe. Future post to come!

Check out some of the fun photos from the brewery below. Including an elevated stage for the rock shows they have at the brewery, 60 gallon fermentors on their laid on their side for a larger surface area and some photos of the brew that day Neil, an IPA blended in a Stout!

New York Pro Am Brew PIT — Tickets on sale at noon!

Bars, Beer, Beer Styles, Brewing, Business, Engineering, History, Ingredients, NY Pro Am Brew PIT, Recipe

I was lucky enough to have won the opportunity to be part of the first annual New York Pro Am Brew PIT. WOOHOO!

What is the New York Pro Am Brew PIT you ask? Well I’ll tell you friendo. It’s an attempt to track the every expanding work of craft brewing, from home brewer to professional brewery.

Each of the five people who have been selected have been paired with a local brewery and will spend a day with that brewery to learn from them and collaborate on a recipe.

We’ll then go and brew a 5 gallon batch of beer which will later be served at the event on August 9th at Covenhoven located at 730 Classon Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.

There will be two tasting sessions at Session 1: 1-3pm, Session 2: 3:30-5:30pm. A vote will be held and one brewer will win the Audience Choice Award who will then brew their recipe with brewer Chris Cuzme at 508 Gastrobrewery.

On top of helping me succeed, Pretzels from Pelzer’s Pretzels will be provided, and a souvenir tasting glass commemorating the event is included.

Tickets are $25 and will be available beginning Thursday, June 26 at noon at this link!

Find attached the press release for more info and I hope you can come to show your support. BREW PIT Press Release 6.11.14

Breweries Involved

Hosted By


Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

Those Crafty Monks

Beer, Beer Styles, History

Monks are responsible for many great things within the beer community. They’ve crafted and honed the style of the Doppelbock into a beer that is enjoyed the world round and is one of larger beer styles to please a  large audience of people.

Not only are they crafty with their beer brewing they pulled a little crafty move on the Pope at one point. Well it probably was unintentional but I like the idea of a chubby monk giggling behind his hand about what happened. The Paulaner monks were the first monks to make the first Lenten strong. A deliciously strong and flavorful beer they made to hold them over during their fasting through lent.

Unfortunately, something of this much delight surely could only be the work of the DEVIL! Nobody actually said that, but the Pope did need to approve the beer and make sure the monks were actually observing the true meaning of lent and not just strapping bras on their heads in a drunken stupor on the side of a hill in Germany.

So the monks shipped some of the beer off to the Pope for his review. But do to the length of the voyage and the exposure to the heat of the sun the beer spoiled by the time it got there. It was so gross that the Pope thought nobody could possibly enjoy much of the beer and gave the monks his blessing to “party on”.

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Photo: Jennifer Mathis

Gruit. Herb Crusted Beer.

Beer, Beer Styles, Brewing, Engineering, History, Ingredients, Recipe

OK. It’s not technically herb crusted but I kinda want a nice herb crusted pork loin with a nice Gruit to wash it down after thinking about this post. Gruits are probably the biggest recipes I like to tinker around with.

Gruits are a mixture of spices you add to your beers that traditionally replace hops. The herbs serve not only as a flavoring and aroma agent like a hop but also as a preservative for the beer at times. There are all types of herbs and spices one could use to make a Gruit but here’s a list of some of the more common ones.

  • sweet gale
  • mugwort
  • yarrow
  • ground ivy
  • horehound
  • heather
  • black henbane
  • juniper berries
  • ginger
  • caraway seed
  • aniseed
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon

Gruits to Try

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Photo: Casey Fleser