Worth a Trip to the Northside: The Brooklyn Box Set

Last spring when we were doing research for our profile of Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery, we spoke to the obvious folks: Other respected craft brewers, bar owners, beverage writers and experts in the beverage. But unlike most brewer write-ups, this particular piece required a call to the editors at Oxford University Press, that ultra-prestigious publishing house that puts out every-thing-you-wanted-to-know tomes on food and drink.

Last spring when we were doing research for our profile of Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery, we spoke to the obvious folks: Other respected craft brewers, bar owners, beverage writers and experts in the beverage. But unlike most brewer write-ups, this particular piece required a call to the editors at Oxford University Press, that ultra-prestigious publishing house that puts out every-thing-you-wanted-to-know tomes on food and drink.

That’s because in addition to making great beers–truly, the large format, bottle-conditioned brews he creates and ages on N. 11th Street in Williamsburg are some of the finest in the country these days–the man is author of the first-ever (and brand-new) Oxford Companion to Beer.

“He’s the ultimate authority on beer,” Grace Labatt, Oliver’s editor at Oxford told us.  “Few people in the world know every aspect of beer,” she said, noting that Oliver curated a whopping 1,140 entries from dozens of writers on topics like technology, science, history, philosophy, traditional styles, flavors and food pairings. “He’s a renaissance man,” she told us, “when we have meetings, he just spouts off facts.”

Now you can get those facts in the beautiful book itself, along with one beautiful beer. Part of the 750 ML bottle Brewmaster Reserve series we were telling you about, it’s an ale called The Companion, and was brewed specially in an old style known as “wheat wine” right here in Brooklyn by Oliver and his co-authors, Horst Dornbusch and Kraus-Weyermann. You can get both the book and beer together in a special $80 package called the Brooklyn Box Set. The only catch is you have to pick it up in person at The Brooklyn Brewery (that’s 79 North 11th Street between Berry and Wythe Avenues). Hell, it’s not even much of a catch, considering the brewery functions as a brewpub selling great beers just like the Companion, to boot.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.