A look back at 2014

Happy New Year everyone! I thought it would be a nice to post a wrap up of the events at Bitter & Esters. As I went over everything that we did I started to realize that 2014 was a helluva year! Filled with special guests, awesome events and of course, lots of great beers. It was a great year for meeting beer celebrities. I met Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery at the World Science festival where he used one of our fermenting beers for a demonstration. For National Homebrew day in May we hosted John Palmer, the author of How to Brew. I got to brew a beer with him that he wrote for the store! I also spent the next three days touring around our great city and introducing John to New York's homebrewers and professional brewers (he hadn't been to New York since he was 19!). A super nice, smart guy that I am still in touch with. An incredible treat. B&E_073_Palmer In October, pretty much out of nowhere, Charlie Papazian, the guy who taught us all to "relax, don't worry and have a homebrew" came to the store for one of our Bottle Swaps. The store was packed with people and it was an awesome madhouse. It was such an honor for us as homebrewers to have him visit. He had a great time and loved all of you. It was a night to remember. Other cool events happened this year too. Pouring lager in the old lager caves of Nassau Brewery right around the corner from the store, courtesy of Josh Bernstein. Appearing on Bric Arts television with Cassy Solof for Pride of Brooklyn, plus pouring beer at P.O.B. the next day. Speaking of television, I got to be all nerdy on CUNY Science TV this year talking about the science of beer. Our very own Pro Am Brewer's P.I.T. was the event of the Summer . Hosted by our friends at Covenhoven, it was a beautiful day of homebrewers and pro brewers coming together. The winner of Brewer's P.I.T., Frank Lockwood, got to brew with Chris Cuzme at 508. The release night for that beer was epic. Cuzme, LaPolla, Sherrill For New York City Cider week our friends Joy and Jeremy of Proper Cider brought their crusher and presses and we had people bring their apples to get fresh juice to make hard cider. So much fun, thanks guys. This year I hope to taste the ciders that were made that day. Tara Whitsitt and Fermentation on Wheels visited us the next day. We had free fermentation workshops, featuring Eric Childs of Kombucha Brooklyn and Mary Izett of Fuhmentaboudit! Speaking of Fuhmentaboudit!, I was fortunate to be guest host for a few episodes this year. Besides being a homebrew shop we are also New York State's only brew on premises. We had a lot of fun brewing beer with people for birthdays, bachelor parties, even some people doing test batches for their breweries.. Nomad restaurant brewed for their holiday party, Union beer brewed for their cicerone class, Kombucha brooklyn brewed for the hell of it and my favorite one was Rina and Elliot Choi brewing 60 gallons of beer for their wedding. Congratulations! Cool classes this year too. In addition to our Brewshop 101, all grain, hops and yeast classes, Tamara Connoly of We Are How had one on the business of branding your brew (very important to all you aspiring brewery owners). We also had our intensive three day Brewprenticeship class. We had a couple of popular free demos on kegging and brew in a bag as well. Lucien John HagenOur friend and employee Sam left for bicycle trips to the unknown and was replaced with Bobby from New Orleans who has hit it off big with our community. Our former employee Ovieh is now back and picking up where he left off and our Certified Tastemaster General ® (aka John Hagen) had a beautiful baby boy. Speaking of community, our free monthly bottle swaps on the first Wednesday are getting bigger and bigger. The beers pouring are amazing and the community of brewers is fantastic. Congratulations to all of the coveted cup winners. You all rock! Like I said it's been a helluva year. It started with Brew for Autism on Staten Island and will start with it again on January 24th. We have even bigger plans this year. New classes, new recipes, exciting guests, cool events. Stay tuned. We owe all of this to you. When Doug and I came up with the idea for the store four years ago, we knew we would work hard, have fun and drink a lot of good beer. Your contribution to the homebrewing community has been outstanding. It has been your support and awesomeness that has made each year better than the last. Thank you. John LaPolla Headshot John
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