Barrier Brewing Tap Takeover
5 p.m. Dec. 20
Allen Burger Venture
175 Allen St., Buffalo (786-0386)
Sunday night, Buffalo will get to sample beers from a brewery located on the other side of the state. Allen Burger Venture (ABV) will be hosting Long Island-based Barrier Brewing Company for a tap takeover. This event will serve as a pre-party for Buffalo based metalcore band Every Time I Die’s (ETID) annual Christmas party at Town Ballroom.
“Hop Damn,” a beer brewed in collaboration with ETID, will be featured. Hop Damn is named after one of the band's most popular albums, “Hot Damn!”
How are a metalcore band, a Buffalo beer and burger bar, and a Long Island brewery all connected? ABV owner Mike Shatzel met Barrier Brewing sales manager Mike Descarfino at a beer bar in Boston. “Being from Buffalo, Mike Descarfino asked me if I knew of the band Every Time I Die. I knew little about the band other than a former waitress from Coles was married to the lead singer,” Keith Buckley, Shatzel said.
“Next thing I know I’m on a Facebook message thread with Mike and Keith Buckley from the band," Descarfino said. "I said that the guys and I at Barrier are fans and would love to brew a beer for ETID. Keith was super stoked and loved the idea.”
“That’s how Hop Damn was born! Just a couple of dudes having a few pints and making a few moves,” Descarfino added.
[See a photo gallery from Every Time I Die's Christmas show in Town Ballroom]
Barrier Brewing was founded by brewmaster Evan Klein, a former brewer at Sixpoint in Brooklyn, in June of 2009. Barrier makes over 70 rotating beers year round, but a few of its mainstays include Money IPA, Evil Giant IPA, and Greenroom Pale Ale. Barrier will be featuring 23 beers spanning all styles at ABV for the tap takeover.
Hop Damn is a double rye IPA clocking in at 7.5-percent alcohol by volume. “We needed to brew a beer that could stand up to the actual band itself and complement their music,” Descarfino said. “So we needed to make something that was loud and aggressive.”
Hop Damn is certainly aggressive. It's brewed with a strong rye malt backbone and classic, piney/dank/citrus American hops such as Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, and Amarillo.
“Hop Damn is a mosh pit of flavor,” said Descarfino.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated Barrier Brewing, and they were forced to shut down for seven months. “We had four feet of floor water and fermenter tanks were literally on their sides. Over $100,000 in damage was done. For a small brewery such as ourselves, it was beyond devastating,” said Descarfino.
That’s where surrounding breweries came to the rescue, including Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown. Barrier Brewing traveled to Ommegang and made a collaboration beer called “Ommegang/Barrier Relief,” a Barrier recipe brewed at Ommegang and fermented using Ommegang house yeast. A portion of the keg sales went back to Barrier. “The support we got from Long Island breweries and Ommegang was unbelievable,” said Descarfino.
But why did Shatzel chose ABV to host Barrier Brewing instead of one of his other locations? “We chose ABV for the location due to the music feel with Johny Chow behind the bar and Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die. Keith has been a fixture on Allen for years.”
Remarkable Christmas From Around the World
6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 18
World of Beer – Walden Galleria
1 Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga (683-0947)
World of Beer and Remarkable Liquids will feature Christmas beers from around the world. The beer selection includes such holiday names as Santa’s Little Helper by Mikkeller, a Belgian strong dark ale brewed with Christmas spices, Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room by Evil Twin, an imperial stout, and Christmas Bomb by Prairie, an Christmas spiced version of its imperial stout aged on coffee and vanilla.
“The theme is Christmas beer and also just really good beers. I’m looking forward to handing out some presents and enjoying some good beer with people,” said Product Manager Chris Sutton.
The beer list will also feature beer from the gypsy husband and wife duo Joe and Lauren Grimm of Grimm Ales, including Super Symmetry, a dry hopped oaked gose with lemon zest, Purple Prose, an American sour brewed with black currants and raspberries, and Cloudbusting, a rye double IPA with New Zealand hops.
There will also be a bad Santa contest and “caroloke,” where guests can sing karaoke to Christmas carols.
2nd Annual Bells Festivus For the Rest of Us
11:30 a.m. Dec. 19
727 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo (882-6665)
Blue Monk has been setting aside kegs of "Seinfeld"-themed beer for a holiday party. The draft list includes such beers as Expedition Stout, Winter White Ale, and Third Coast Ale aged in bourbon barrels. Expedition Stout is an Imperial Stout that offers a malt body matched to a blend of chocolate and dark fruits.
Winter White Ale is fermented with a Belgian yeast age that imparts a mixture of clove and fruity aromas. Bourbon Barrel Aged Third Coast Ale is an assertive hopped old ale aged in bourbon barrels and contains a dry bitterness and a mixture of floral and herbal aromas.
Party With Santa and Last-minute Shopper’s Market
2 to 8 p.m. Dec. 19
Flying Bison Brewing Company
840 Seneca St., Buffalo (873-1557)
Santa will be making his way to Flying Bison Brewing Company from 2 to 4 p.m. In addition, there will be a “Last Minute Shopper’s Market” featuring local arts and crafts.
At 6 p.m. there will be a bottle exchange. Participants are asked to bring a gift-wrapped craft beer bottle and anyone who brings a bottle gets to take one home in return. The selections should be craft beer only.
Also, free root beer soda, candy, and snacks will be available.
Kevin Wise, Ph.D. is a Professor of Biology at Trocaire College who maintains a blog on beer science and beer reviews and can be reached at: www.buffalobeerbiochemist.com; Twitter: @BuffaloBeerBio; Untappd: @BuffaloBeerBiochemist