Earlier this summer, Keg & Lantern Brewing Company in Greenpoint partnered with the team at BeerMenus (a website and app based in DUMBO that provides updated beer selections for bars, restaurants and retail outlets) to create a tropical-fruit-packed pale ale called Integrity is Rare. The collaboration was largely in response to Big Beer’s acquisitions of smaller, independently owned craft breweries in recent years, the latest and most niche to date being Anheuser-Busch InBev’s purchase of Asheville, North Carolina’s Wicked Weed Brewing Company in May.
Integrity is Rare was both scarce and tasty, a one-two punch that K.O.’d kegs of the special release in just a few days. But don’t fret or sweat if you missed it, because this week you have the chance to try almost a dozen limited-edition beers from Keg & Lantern as the brewery celebrates its third anniversary. The best part? All drafts are priced for happy hour through Sunday, at only $5.
Among the crew of birthday brews, which comprise both newcomers and seasonally driven re-imaginings of existing offerings, is Keg & Lantern’s first grodziskie (also called grätzer), an ancient Polish style of wheat beer, made with
oak-smoked wheat malt.
Grodziskie’s history dates back to the 14th century (and likely even earlier), to the town of Grodzisk. It was once popular across the region and beyond, but a number of factors led to a period of decline for Polish Champagne, as it was referred to for export at the peak of its notoriety in the beginning of the 20th century, and then near extinction when the last commercial brewer of the style was purchased and closed by a rival beer-maker in the mid-1990s. While several brewers, some in Poland and more in the United States, have helped reanimate the historic style with their interpretations in recent years, it remains an obscurity.
Jeff Lyons, Keg & Lantern’s head brewer, described his version as “faithful to the style’s original framework.” It’s “light in body and low in alcohol,” he said, “with a gentle smoked aroma and flavor, and a clean hop bitterness. Overall it’s highly sessionable and perfect to enjoy on a hot day.”
Lyons said he wanted to re-create a grodziskie “to show our appreciation” for Greenpoint, a traditionally Polish neighborhood. “It’ll be special to share our take on Poland’s indigenous beer,” he said.
Here are four other new beers you can try during Keg & Lantern’s weeklong third anniversary celebration, as told by Lyons:
Pocho, Mexican lager with lime zest
“I can’t stop drinking Mexican lagers right now. We made this one a few weeks ago and it’s been the first beer I’ve had each day since. For this batch, we wanted to see if adding a bit of lime zest would boost the already crisp, refreshing character and make it even more summer-appropriate.”
“Berliner weisse is a tart German wheat beer traditionally served with syrups, most often using woodruff, to balance the acidity from the lactobacillus with either bitterness or fruity sweetness. All week we’ll offer our Berliner four ways: straight, aged on Michigan tart cherries, and with two simple syrups featuring lemon zest and raspberries. Our goal is to have guests order a tasting flight to compare and contrast, then choose their favorite for a full pint.”
Golden Ale, with orange zest and vanilla bean
“Our golden ale has been a brewery mainstay since day one. It’s an easy drinker, with an almost creamy mouthfeel. We thought it would be fun to approximate an orange creamsicle so we conditioned a batch on orange zest and vanilla bean. (We also have a version with jalapeño and habanero peppers.) Bring your frozen treats and we can do a side-by-side tasting.”
Just Add Zebras, sour witbier with lemon zest and Earl Grey tea
“Our sour witbier is bright, refreshing and great in the summer heat. It seemed a natural fit to accentuate the citrus and sour lemon note with lemon zest, and this beer has screamed Earl Grey tea to me all along. Hopefully, we’ve added some complexity without detracting from the simple enjoyment of the original.”