Demonstrating once again that they are indeed far more than just a sports bar, RED STAR pulled out all the stops for the all-day affair, which featured over 20 craft and microbrews (including specialty brews from over 15 national and international breweries like Blue Point, Sierra, Smuttynose, and Lagunitas, as well as local favorites like Kelso of Brooklyn, Sixpoint, and the Brooklyn Brewery.) In fact, given that it hopes to build an international reputation as well, the GREENPOINT BEER FESTIVAL also featured – for the first time in the United States – Latis’s Steenbrugge Tripel!
Saturday’s festival was free of charge, and attendees were able to sample six of these great beers for just $20 by making use of tickets earmarked for the occasion. (“Red” tickets, appropriately enough!)
More than just a tasting, though, the event also provided a rare opportunity for beer fans to get firsthand information about the brews on hand (and in fact, about beer in general) from company reps from all across the country. As attendees coursed through the two-story venue, a Magic Hat here, a Fire Island there, a couple of favorites quickly emerged. One was definitely the Brooklyn Brewery’s newest offering, BackBreaker, a robust honey-colored ale bursting with the juicy flavors of Maris Otter malt and aromatized with earthy English Fuggle hops, a brand spanking new creation that the Brooklyn Brewery had just brewed on Friday, the day before the festival! Another standout that proved to be exceedingly popular was Joe Mamma’s Stout from Keegan Ales, out of Kingston, NY, a creamy coffee milk stout with a frothier head on it and a creamier taste to it than many similar such offerings. And as tasters continued to rave about his Dusseldorf-style Altbier, Southampton Publick House sales rep Spencer Niebuhr definitely made points with all who gathered near him – and captured the spirit of the event! – by waxing philosophical about how being a beer connoisseur is not the same as being a wine connoisseur. “You can definitely be a beer connoisseur and still be cool.”
To complement the proceedings (and to help soak up some of the alcohol, too!) RED STAR’s Executive Chef extraordinaire John Manzo put together $5 platters of some of the restaurant’s offerings, like Hot Wings, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and of course, RED STAR’S acclaimed Pull Pork Sliders, a display that really is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the eclectic New American menu that Manzo prides himself on and that makes RED STAR such a special experience.
And for those who stayed long after the sun went down, the GREENPOINT BEER FESTIVAL most definitely transmogrified into an out-and-out music fest as well, as none other than Brooklyn's own John Forte – yes, the Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer who once worked with The Fugees – performed several powerful and inspiring songs from his critically acclaimed new StyleFREE EP.
All in all, the GREENPOINT BEER FESTIVAL was definitely the kind of event that the two-story RED STAR space is perfectly suited for, given its capacious location on the site of the former Eberhard-Faber Pencil Factory. Suffice it to say, you can count on more such events to be the norm as the venue’s already loyal following continues to grow, and as word spreads as to Manzo’s culinary wizardry.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” said RED STAR General Manager Eric Hall Saturday. “To have John Forté and a lineup of beers like this – this is what Red Star is all about. Great music, great sports, great food, great beer. It just enhances the sense of community that Red Star was built on."
RED STAR BAR is located at 37 Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718) 349-0149. For info about future events (or just to peruse their extraordinary menu!), please make sure to visit their website