Welcome to Bushwick Brews, Bushwick Daily’s brand spankin’ new beer column. Each week we’ll feature one of the neighborhood’s many exciting beers on tap. This week we started at The Sampler, the new craft beer emporium on Starr St. With an impressive 18 rotating taps, most from obscure breweries. I knew I would find something special and Rafael, part owner/manager did not disappoint when he poured me a glass of Newburgh Brewing Company’s “Aces Wild” Double Cream Ale.
This ale is deep gold in color with a creamy white head. Before I even took a sip of the Aces Wild, its strong herbal aroma hit me. I wasn’t able to pick out the specific herbs myself, so Rafael stepped in to help: Aces Wild is brewed with mint and tarragon, giving it the wonderful scent of a summer herb garden and a fresh aftertaste.
The other star player in the Aces Wild is the Sorachi Ace Hop. A Japanese hop, the Sorachi Ace is notable for its herbal, lemony flavors and is used to brew beers like Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace and the Japanese import Sapporo. In Aces Wild Newburgh used the Sorachi Ace to dry hop, which means they added it after the boil and fermenting of the beer was finished. This results in the hops contributing less to the bitterness/flavor of the beer and more to the aroma of the beer, allowing the Sorachi play complement to the tarragon and mint.
A cream ale, Aces Wild goes down deceptively smoothly considering it’s a double. Double beers are exactly what they sound like: double, or at least highly increased, amounts of the key ingredients that give a beer its flavor: hops, malt and yeast. When you increase the proportions of these guys your beer is sure to pack a lot of punch and alongside its creaminess, this beer has nice body to it. The Aces Wild’s intense hop levels are balanced by bumping up the sweetness and body of the beer through the addition of the hops’ counterpart, malt. Since the sugars extracted from the malt are converted into alcohol during fermentation when you up the malt in your beer you consequently up the alcohol produced as well. Aces Wild rounds out at 8% alcohol, twice that of their standard Cream Ale, earning it its “double” status. That bodes well for the wallet, too.
During these hot days when summer seems interminable, all I want to drink are refreshing beers like this. The unique combination of flavors, not often found in beers, and the intensity of the double appeals to me and spotlights Newburgh, the brewery that perfected this summer gem. Newburgh, located in the town of the same name in upstate New York, has been around just over a year and is committed to brewing creative but drinkable beers. They are located about an hour and a half north of the city, off the same stop as Dia:Beacon on the Metro North. With live music several times a week, tours on Saturdays, and a respectable if concise food menu, this is a definite destination this summer when I get an itch to escape the hot concrete – and perhaps a topic for a future column. Tune in next week for your next Bushwick Brew.
So Newburgh Brewing Company’s “Aces Wild” Double Cream Ale get 3.5/5 stars: 1 for unique hop use, 1 for nicely incorporating herbs, 1 for the nice balance of the double, and .5 for it being a unique beer that’s good for summer.
The Sampler is located at 234 Starr St and is open Monday-Thursday 12-11; Friday-Saturday 12-12; Sunday 12-9. A 10 oz pour of Aces Wild will set you back $7.