Charles Gotard and Brian Pope became friends about 10 years ago through a mutual friend though it wasn't until 2 days after Christmas in 2013 that they brewed their first beer together. Gotard had just received a homebrew kit for Christmas and knowing that Pope had been brewing for some time asked for his help. They've been brewing together ever since. Their beers regularly win awards at homebrew competitions across the city. Since that first beer, they have upgraded to brewing all-grain and as Gotard explains,"...converted my basement into a brewery, and the 'hobby' has become more like an obsession in which we brew together almost every weekend."
Charles and Brian were 1 of 5 brewers, or brewing teams,randomly chosen out of over 60 entrants to participate in tomorrow's 3rd annual NYC Brewers Pro-Am out of more than 60 entrants. Along with co-organizer Bitter & Esters, we paired them with local brewery Folksbier, a brewery regularly cranking out tasty beers in their brick and mortar in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Under the direction of Travis Kauffman, they brew classic examples of historical styles and their beer is uniformly great. Charles, Brian and the guys over at Folksbier met, collaborated on a recipe together, brewed that beer together, and will be serving it together at Covenhoven tomorrow. They'll be joined by 4 other homebrewers who were partnered with local breweries The Bronx Brewery, Greenpoint Beer and Ale, KCBC, and Strong Rope.
"The collaboration experience has been one of the best opportunities I've had," says Gotard, "I was excited to learn how similar the process is whether you're brewing on a 5 gallon system or in a brewery." For their collaboration with Folksbier they decided to brew a white wheat, hoppy, strawberry saison with oats. They hopped with German Huell Melon hops. They have named the beer "Huell & Oats". Ah, beer puns. They'll be pureeing fresh strawberries and dose in the serving keg.
Gotard and Pope are also bringing a homebrew. "We decided that Pope and I would be making a Schwarzbier for the event - to complement the styles of beer that Folksbier itself usually makes. The beer was made with a double-decoction mash and 'Folksbier' lager yeast." Folksbier will also be bringing their Helles Simple. There will be a total of at least 15 beers at tomorrow's event, plus an extra 1 or 2 from the organizers.
Charlie and Brian will be competing for Audience Choice votes with Folksbier. The winner will have their beer brewed again and it will be distributed to craft bars throughout the city. Given Charles' and Brian's recent spate of cleaning up at competitions, it's very possible that you will see Huell and Oates around town in the near future.
The NYC Brewers Pro-Am is taking place this Saturday at Covenhoven located at 730 Classon Avenue in Brooklyn. Advance tickets are $35 and are available online here. Tickets at the door, if available, will be $40. Due to the limited capacity of the venue, there are 2 sessions. The 1st session is 1p-3p. The second session is 3:30p-5:30p. Your ticket entitles you to unlimited samples of the beers, a souvenir glass, a complimentary pretzel, and the opportunity to vote for Audience Choice. Charlie, Brian, Will, Xavi, Phil, Mary and Eric are excited to compete and eager to get feedback on their collaborations and their homebrew. It's worth noting that many of our past competitors are now working in the beer industry. Come meet the next generation of craft beer in NYC.