“A homebrewer getting a recipe from a professional brewer is an invaluable tool,” John LaPolla, co-owner of Bitter & Esters tells me, “because they can learn from the experience of the pro and be able to compare their homebrew with the commercial version.” That’s why the shop has launched their NYC Brewery Series. Every month, they’ll be offering a new recipe kit from a brewery located within the five boroughs directly from the brewers themselves.
The eight local breweries they’ve paired up with? KCBC, Wartega, Threes Brewing, Strong Rope Brewery, Rockaway Brewing Company, Keg & Lantern, Interboro, and Folksbier. Bushwick’s KCBC is up first, with their double dry-hopped IPA Dangerous Precedent. “We think KCBC is a great brewery with a loyal following and we’ve been friends with Tony, Zack, and Pete (the brewers at KCBC) since we opened back in 2011,” says LaPolla. “Tony even taught our Brewshop 101 class a few years ago!”
This isn’t a one-way exchange, either. “Pro brewers get the opportunity to learn from homebrewers because they might swap out an ingredient or try a different process that improves the beer in a way that they didn’t originally envision,” says LaPolla. “Homebrewers have been driving the market for craft beer for some time, because they’re constantly experimenting in ways that professional brewers don’t necessarily have time or space for.”
Ultimately, it’ll help bridge the gap between those working in the field and those working in their garages. “Bitter & Esters occupies a unique position in that we have strong relationships with both the local craft beer and homebrew communities,” says LaPolla. “We really want to bring those two communities closer and we think that the NYC Brewery Series can help do that. It demystifies a little bit of the process for homebrewers and helps spread the word about the awesome beers being made in our neighborhoods. We’ve been lucky to see customers and friends follow their dreams and change the landscape of beer in the city.”