Interboro Spirits & Ales - Brooklyn, NY
Having such a profound love for Carton Brewing had to eventually lead me to Interboro Spirits & Ales in Brooklyn, NY. Amidst a blossoming craft beer urban mecca in Brooklyn, Interboro has landed with a splash in the ever evolving neighborhood that boasts breweries such as Other Half, Three's Brewing, and Greenpoint. Interboro is a result of many different beer experiences within the industry in the past few years for Jesse Ferguson. The former head brewer of Carton, he's now opened a place to co-own that is both a brewery and a distillery.
The brewery had been rumored to open since 2015, with it finally opening its doors in this past September. Having a few months under its belt, the buzz was definitely picking up about Interboro and I knew it was time to make a visit. Their cans have been all over social media and the comments overall have been pretty good. So upon parking along the snowy roads and walking into the brewery/distillery, I realized the taproom was pretty laid back. There's plenty of places to sit and even stand. Upon leaving, however, business had picked up and the scene was beginning to get a little more crowded. There was a can release the day before and people were beginning to stream in looking for those and perhaps a drink or two, as well.
Being here exclusively for the brewery portion - the taplist is definitely varied and well curated. There is a little bit of everything here for everyone. From a pilsner to a saison to IPA's and then darker beers... and even a cider, you're covered. Plus the distillery aspect helps for those situations when you want to come with people who aren't beer drinkers but would love to try some of the locally crafted spirits. For this visit, I tried 8 of their offerings - although honestly, I would have loved to try them all, the flights include 4 at a time, and moderation is always key.
- Bushburg Pils: It almost seems like making a good clean, crisp pilsner is a forgotten thing. A lot are clean and crisp with very little flavor to it. Interboro challenges that and gives us one of the best pilsners I've had in a while. Out of all of the beers I had on this day, this one made me yearn for beach weather the most. I know people tend to skip over tried and true beers like a pilsner and a lager for hoppier beers, but give this one a shot. It is in fact - the only one not in this picture because I was too busy sipping it while taking this shot.
- City Wide Porter: A very solid porter, skirting on the sweeter side, although there is nothing mind-blowing about this specific beer, it is true to the porter style and can be enjoyed by mostly anyone that is jumping into the porter pool for the first time or just wants an easier drinking dark beer that still retains some body and flavor.
- Approved Stout: As is with the City Wide Porter, the Approved Stout has no other-worldy aspect to it, but its also to understand that some beers just need to be a representation of the style before moving on to more complex variations. This stout just screamed out coffee and dark chocolate within the nose. It was good, but what did impress me was how much flavor was packed into the lower ABV. If you enjoy the richness and mouthfeel of a 9% stout, the Approved Stout can give you some of that without the higher end ABV.
- Halftime Session IPA: This was a pretty decent session. It's hard not to compare it to Carton Brewing's BOAT, but it's also doing this session a disservice by doing so. Light and crisp, fully of hoppy aromas, this beer was great. I won't lie though, if I had to choose between the Halftime Session and the Bushburg Pils for a summer drinker, I am going with the Pils. It's not so much a condemnation of the Halftime, it's more of a testament to how solidly good both are.
- Crush Kill Destroy IPA: I'll confess that I cheated and tried Mad Fat Unicorn before I tried CKD. With that said, CKD was an okay IPA to me. For anyone that doesn't want to be overwhelmed with hops or ABV, this IPA is a classic palate starter IPA. At 6.7% ABV, it's super invitable to anyone and easily drinkable.
- Super Bad DIPA: The Simcoe and Centennial hops shine the most in this bitier IPA. There's a definite citrus presence with a bite that comes with the higher ABV territory. I definitely enjoyed this beer, even more so in the small format to let it warm up a bit.
- Overtime Imperial IPA: The aroma of this beer immediately yelled out alcohol to me. It's a pretty boozy beer that felt a bit inferior to Super Bad and to Mad Fat Unicorn, but not by much. It's definitely worth the try for the higher ABV and to see how the Citra, Motueka, and and Galaxy hops blend together. It does balance the drier mouthfeel of the Galaxy with the citrus aspects of Citra and Motueka pretty nicely though.
Mad Fat Unicorn is a collaboration between Interboro and Pipeworks Brewing. My first guess is that it's a unification of Interboro's Mad Fat Fluid and Pipework's Ninja vs Unicorns... but that's purely conjecture at this point. At 8% ABV, it comes in the higher end for an IPA. It definitely checks off all the boxes when it comes to that juicy color and the bright, citrusy aromas. This beer was my favorite of the day and showcases some of the complexity and balance that can come with a collaboration beer. I think this IPA can be what begins a positive track into the right canning direction for Interboro. As this weekend was my first and only experience with any of their brews, I can honestly say that I was satisfied and enjoyed all of them, especially Mad Fat Unicorn.
The buzz picking up in 2017 about Interboro Spirits & Ales seem pretty legit to me. It's just another reason that just ONE day of being in Brooklyn is almost borderline impossible. For someone like myself, who has to cross over a few bridges, it's almost better to just stay over a night or two and take in all of the breweries and restaurants within the area. Interboro should definitely be on that list as well. There is beer, spirits, and if you are feeling a bit on the picky side for food and don't want to leave the comfort of your immediate surroundings, there are a few basic food offerings as well.
If you're ever debating on a place to go where multiple people can be pleased, I had thought Three's Brewing would pretty much cover that, but with Interboro now being open, there are options! I love the burgeoning craft beer scene in Brooklyn and I love how far a lot of them have come along in just the span of a few years. It's inevitable to see that quite a few of them will be leaving their mark within the state and the country in due time. I believe Interboro can be one of those breweries. With some refining and some time, I'm sure that they can come to mind, eventually, when talking about the state's best. Without a doubt, I'd absolutely visit again and intend to fully do so. Whether it's because there is a can release or just because, Interboro is now a permanent fixture within my Brooklyn brewery map.