There is an interesting dichotomy to the Brooklyn Brewery’s recent releases. On one hand you have classic beers like their Summer Ale… exceptionally brewed and distributed to the masses. But then you have their Brewmaster’s Series, a collection of one-off liquids of interest designed to expand the minds of both the Brooklyn brewers and the craft beer community. The latest release, The Concoction, embraces this expansive mindset to the fullest. The Concoction finds its inspiration not in the classic beers of Belgium and England but much closer to home… from the Penicillin cocktail, a scotch drink from the world renowned mixologist Sam Ross of New York City’s famed Milk & Honey.
“We spend a lot of time with our pals in the cocktail world, and they are constantly putting new flavor combinations in front of us. One of my favorites is a Scotch-based cocktail called The Penicillin. Invented by bartender Sam Ross at Sasha Petraske’s famous NYC cocktail bar Milk & Honey, the Pencillin is an instant classic. It combines peaty Scotch, ginger-infused honey, and lemon juice. It’s an improbable blend, but it’s delicious, and it’s also the inspiration for our next Brewmaster’s Reserve beer, The
Tonic Concoction. The government wouldn’t let us call the beer “Penicillin”, we’re afraid. But friends, between you and us, this brand new Tonic Concoction will cure many of your ills. Now take your Tonic Concoction and text us tomorrow.”
Textbook beer drinkers may find themselves beguiled by The Concoction. It’s light-bodied with a heathy carbonation but full of aggressive flavors. Traditionally, brewers tend to push their adjuncts, or additionally favorings, to the background to compliment their malt and yeast. But here, they are pushed to the forefront. The agressive ginger and lemon juice flavors actually subdue the intense smokey character from the inclusion of 20% peat-smoked malt in the recipe. (as an aside, most recipes usually call for 1%-5% peat smoked malt). In the end, however, all these big flavors come together with prestine balance and, surprisingly, The Concoction drinks like a beer with a flavor profile more at home behind the bar than on tap.
Personally, This is one of my favorites from the Brewmasters Series. While The Concoction is complex and defies categorization, it is still extremely quaffable and succeeds in pushing the limits of craft beer without alienating drinkers. This is a perfect beer for your cocktail-loving friends on a warm summer afternoon. Keep an eye out for The Concoction on tap now at New York’s finer watering holes.
MALTS: English Peat Smoked Malt, English Pale Malt, German Pilsner Malt
HOPS: Willamette, Cascades, Fuggles, Kent Goldings, Simcoe, Citra, Sorachi Ace, Amarillo
ADDITIONS: Dried Lemon Peel, Minced ginger, NYS Wildflower Honey, Organic, Lemon Juice from Italy (Sicily)