World of Beer, January 23rd, 2018

I was lucky to be invited to the Final Selection Event put on by My City Brew to help choose the final version of the Dunkel which would premier as their first beer this spring. Jonah Epstein and his team led a great event at World of Beer in the Galleria Mall which included 4 samples, a who’s who of Buffalo beer, and swag bags for the first 30 people. WOB’s full menu and tap list were also available but were not included in the ticket. I was 7th in line out the door and it was a particularly cold evening, but that didn’t deter the hundred or so others waiting to get inside.

Featured Guest

Jonah Epstein

Jonah Epstein

My City Brew

If you haven’t heard Jonah’s story, check out Episode 38 of WNY Brews to hear him tell the whole thing.

The short version is: Jonah came up with the idea for a crowd-sourced commercial beer and submitted it for a college business project. It’s taken almost 2 years and 10,000 votes, but Buffalo finally decided on a Munich Dunkel and taking winner Pieter Louw’s name suggestion of Byson Brown after the recently re-elected Mayor of Buffalo Byron Brown. On a side note, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my son dressed as Mayor Brown at the Buffalo Museum of Science standing beside the actual Mayor Brown.
A dunkel is a dark lager utilizing Munich malt. The color is generally obtained through the use of one or two darker roasted malts such as carafa II. The style is very drinkable with hints of chocolate or caramel without being overly sweet or roasty. We traveled to Munich in August and had a fair number of liters of dunkel while walking the city. I wish I could say my taste memory was good enough to pin one of the 4 samples to one had in August, but I didn’t feel my limited German experience helped my selection at all.

It's a great thing that they're putting together here at My City Brew. It's what Buffalo needs; more beer.

Dan Syracuse

Restaurateur, Pizza Plant

Upon entering World of Beer, we were given a flight of the four samples, each one labeled with a simple 1, 2, 3, or 4. We were also given slips of paper to help us keep track of what we were drinking. It was then up to us to choose My City Brew’s first beer through Twitter using the hashtag #IvotedForMyCityBrew or by dropping our entrance ticket into a box labeled 1, 2, 3, or 4. Small cups of pretzels helped cleanse our palettes in between sips.

Walking past some prominent names in Buffalo beer, including brewers, Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association board members, Buffalo Beer Geeks, Goddesses, and League members, I sat down with a table of drinkers to choose the best Dunkel.

Upon entering World of Beer, we were given a flight of the four samples, each one labeled with a simple 1, 2, 3, or 4. We were also given slips of paper to help us keep track of what we were drinking. It was then up to us to choose My City Brew’s first beer through Twitter using the hashtag #IvotedForMyCityBrew or by dropping our entrance ticket into a box labeled 1, 2, 3, or 4. Small cups of pretzels helped cleanse our palettes in between sips.
Walking past some prominent names in Buffalo beer, including brewers, Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association board members, Buffalo Beer Geeks, Goddesses, and League members, I sat down with a table of drinkers to choose the best Dunkel.
The four beers ranged from a copper color to a dark brown and each presented a slightly different flavor profile within the style. Dave Schiralli from 12 Gates came up with the recipes and said his intention was to push to the edge of the BJCP style guidelines on either side with the remaining two falling in between. I ended up voting for 3, thinking it the most drinkable, but each beer stood out in it’s own way. It’s a testament to Dave’s recipe’s that everyone I spoke to was able to tell the difference between the four and yet think each could be a good representation of a Dunkel.
The sample I thought had the most malt flavor, number 2, ended up winning the evening although we wouldn’t find out until the next day. Jonah has said he hopes to have the beer out for distribution in the Spring, but he’s yet to work out a schedule with The 12 Gates crew.
After tasting, and of course trying some of WOB’s food and tap list, I walked around to get the opinions of the other taste-testers. In the podcast episode, you’ll hear from Scott McMillan, Paul Marko, Ethan Cox, Dave Rivers, Dan Syracuse, Dave Schiralli, and of course Jonah Epstein about the event.

As always, thank you for listening