Discounted Brews on Tap for NY Craft Beer Week

By Julie Shapiro | September 19, 2011 5:16pm 

LOWER MANHATTAN — Get ready, beer buffs.

New York's annual Craft Beer Week is back, with keg-sized discounts and special events at more than 150 bars and restaurants across the city.

Suds fans can buy a $10 Passport, which entitles them to $3 brews at dozens of venues through Sunday. Also on tap are nightly beer-pairing dinners, trivia sessions, tastings and walking tours.

"It's about having beer drinkers discover New York City through the lens of beer," said Josh Schaffner, 27, an Inwood resident who started the festival in 2008 and has watched it grow each year.

Schaffner said he hopes to build a sense of community among the city's devoted beer drinkers, while also encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone, whether they explore a new neighborhood or sip an unfamiliar brew.

The biggest events this year include the NY Craft Beer Blow-Out Saturday afternoon at Hudson Terrace on West 46th Street, which will offer unlimited sampling of little-known beers, and the Brewers Brunch at the same location Sunday afternoon, which will screen the Giants-Eagles game and serve beer alongside bacon and eggs.

In Lower Manhattan, more bars and restaurants than ever before are participating, hoping to draw locals along with the weekday office crowds.

The new Luke's Lobster on South William Street will offer a $30 tasting dinner focused on Maine brews all week, including chowder paired with Peak Amber Ale, lobster rolls with Peak Pale Ale and whoopie pies with Peak Nut Brown Ale.

Nearby on Pearl Street, The Porterhouse Brewing Company at Fraunces Tavern will offer a $55, six-course beer pairing dinner on Tuesday. Dishes include pan-seared scallops paired with Allagash Victor and peanut butter banana bread pudding with Youngs Chocolate Stout.

"This is the first year that the Financial District has had more than a couple participants, and we are proud to be a part of the revitalization of the neighborhood as a food and drink destination," Ben Conniff, vice president of Luke's Lobster, said in an email.

Schaffner said one of the most frequent questions he faces is what makes a "craft" beer. The Brewers Association has a technical, four-point definition, Schaffner said, but he prefers a simpler one: taste.

"Craft beer is a beer that was made with the first and foremost consideration in the creation of the beer being flavor, as opposed to ease of manufacturing or marketing appeal," Schaffner said.

"Drinking craft beer is an experience…whereas non-craft beers are generally consumed for the sake of consuming alcohol."

For more information about NY Craft Beer Week, visit the event's website.