A friend’s wedding beckons on Saturday, September 13, so I can’t attend Beer for Beasts. I’ll sadly miss the eclectic and exclusive beers from Sixpoint, eats from Pizza Moto, Calexico, and DUB Pies, and turntablism from Biz Markie at The Bell House, but I still purchased a ticket — for my cat, Miles Davis, who, despite an excess of smoke inhalation and a grim veterinary prognosis, survived our apartment-destroying fire in July (as I write this, he’s perched on a nearby bookshelf in our sublet, contently loafing).
I love you, Miles. Party! Enjoy!
Miles, though deserving of a ticket, isn’t actually attending Beer for Beasts. My purchase was real-deal and an important one, because all proceeds from the annual two-session event are awesomely donated to the Humane Society of New York. Sixpoint and BeerAdvocate have raised nearly $100,000 for the not-for-profit clinic and no-kill shelter since 2011, “helping animals receive low-cost and funded veterinary services and raising awareness for the animals in our adoption center looking for a home,” says executive director Sandra DeFeo. “[Sixpoint] is also so gracious to coordinate all of the details so that we can keep doing all of the work here seven days a week. They don’t just make good beer. They make a difference.”
A recent innovator in the furors of hop-forward recipes, canning and the blurring and merging of stylistic guidelines, Sixpoint, now with distribution in 20 states, has developed into a distinctive powerhouse since launching from a 800-square-footgarage in Red Hook in 2004. It still brews at this 20-barrel facility on Van Dyke Street (the majority of beer is made at another brewery in Pennsylvania), now devoted to intriguing small-scale production — from proprietary beers for local businesses, including Roberta’s Get Safe Saison and The Meatball Shop‘s Wheatball, to the Mad Scientist series of draft-only experiments with unconventional ingredients (rooftop-grown shiso is just one of many).
The liquid for Beer for Beasts is also produced in Brooklyn, using a 20-gallon brewhouse that yields only three or four kegs per batch. This is another platform to explore the obscure and unexplored, or as “Jersey” Dan Bisogno says, “A time for us to make really crazy stuff.” Bisogno, the brewery’s salesman in Delaware and Pennslyvania, has created a different beer each year (Latino Breakfast Stout, in 2012, was brewed with Café Bustelo coffee, cinnamon, and Mexican chocolate). His latest is Bowl of Oranges, a hopped-up cream ale with tangelo zest.
“I just saw Conor Oberst at SummerStage and it clicked right away,” he says, referring to a same-named song from Oberst’s band, Bright Eyes. Bowl of Oranges is one of 35 beers created exclusively for the event, and all are attached to aberrant concepts. The King’s Layer, for example, is based on one of Elvis’ favorite sandwiches: a pan-fried concoction with peanut butter, banana, and bacon. There are also beers made with beets, lavender, sarsaparilla root, garlic and pizza dough.
Beer for Beasts is a ticket worth purchasing — even if you can’t attend.
Tickets for Beer for Beasts are available now.