Our favorite gypsies are releasing their first barrel-aged beer.
Joe and Lauren Grimm, the Gowanus-based couple nomadically brewing as Grimm Artisanal Ales, are debuting a new beer at Sycamore on Friday: Bees with a Buzz, a version of Bees in the Trappe aged in brandy barrels.
Grimm isn’t a brick-and-mortar operation. Joe and Lauren are gypsy, or itinerant brewers, who rent excess capacity at breweries to make their beer (a growing breed in New York City). The couple concocts new recipes — usually with a Belgian focus — from their apartment in Gowanus, then drives to Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling, Virginia to scaleup production from five gallons to 30 barrels, or roughly 900 gallons. They’ve produced 11 one-off beers since launching with From the Hip, a floral and spicy Belgian-style ale brewed with rose hips, in 2013.
Their followup to From the Hip was Bees in the Trappe, packed with 300 pounds of wildflower honey from Tremblay Apiaries. They rebrewed that bière de miel, or “beer with honey,” last May (their first repeat release), and transferred half of the batch into brandy barrels from Paul Masson. The four-month maturation yielded Bees with a Buzz.
“There is this wonderful, subtle character from the brandy barrels that compliment the honey and Trappist yeast flavors that characterized the original version,” says Lauren. “The stone fruit and spice are now overlaid with distilled white wine, oak, vanilla and butterscotch.”
Sycamore, a bar that doubles as a flower shop in Ditmas Park, will pour four beers from Grimm on Friday: Buzz, the batch of Trappe from May, Double Negative, and BFF.
Niko’s Note: Grimm’s next barrel-aged beer, tentatively slated for December, is a version of Orgone Accumulator that was inoculated with lactobacillus and Brettanomyces and entered into wood previously housing Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters.