There are countless iconic places and activities in New York City and that only multiplies during the Christmas season. The one event that truly kicks off that season in the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. While I'm sure it is a truly special experience to be on the ground live it is definitely something I don't ever plan on seeing live on the ground, the also goes for watching the ball drop in Times Square.
I however was invited to lead a tasting at a party in an office that over looks the tree so you can avoid the chaos and having to listen to the mind numbing hosts on NBC. I brought five beers for the tasting covering as many flavor profiles as possible starting on the light end, hitting some sour notes, hops because you always need hops and a few heavy hitters.
Sorachi Ace - This is probably my favorite beer from Brooklyn Brewery and everyone at the party was begging for more. It's a light easy drinking saison, the second fermentation with champagne yeast adds a welcomed effervescence and the lemon from the sorachi ace hops compliment the citrus from the belgian saison yeast used in the primary fermentation. This is a beer for everyone, easy to accept if you're not into craft beer but complex enough even for the nerds.
Starchild - This a sour wild ale from Finback Brewing in Queens. It's a touch darker than a lot of sours, it pours a burnt orange color and I gave people the heads up to give this a diligent whiff before drinking. It's very tart but enjoyably so and while a few people just weren't down with this style a few others gave it a chance and after a few swigs were asking for more.
077XX (ODUB) - Most people consider this a double IPA from Carton brewing but at 7.8% ABV it's almost a touch on the light side but who cares because it's delicious. Despite the heavy hand with the dank hops this beer is very well balanced and even those who "don't drink IPAs" will walked away second guessing themselves after trying this beer.
Dirty Bastard - Scotch ales mean business and this one definitely packs a punch but I felt the need to share this beer from Founders with the start of the cold season. This isn't a beer for everyone, most people nodded and appreciated the complex toffee/caramel flavors from the malt base but not something they were very excited about. There were however a few whiskey drinkers in the group which made a ton of sense, I told them to keep an eye out for the Backwoods Bastard version of this beer.
Yeti - For a big stout this brew from Great Divide was a huge hit. It pours jet black with a tan head but is "smooth a fresh jar of skippy" once you take a sip. This is great stout because it's inexpensive and easy to find but can also be the cornerstone to great beer cellar. I actually don't know why I don't drink more of this beer (jotting this down as a 2016 resolution).
After the primary tasting I hung around for a few about an extra hour to chat with the guests who were conducting business when I first spoke. It was actually a great way to have individual conversation about each beer and get more specific feedback from people. The Sorachi Ace was something I expected most people to like but it was awesome watching peoples eyes light up when they tried the 077XX.