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Beer for Beasts Benefit at Bell House

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The festival featured 20 unique beers created for the occasion, plus a slew of Sixpoint standards.

Saturday, Boston’s BeerAdvocate and Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery collaborated to stage a benefit for the Humane Society of New York. There were over 600 attendees in each of two sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

Guests lined up on Saturday outside the Bell House for the second session, which commenced at 6 p.m.

This was the first event BeerAdvocate — famous for its Boston beer festivals — had staged in the New York area, and the representatives I spoke with seemed very pleased at the turnout and general comportment of the crowd. The focus of Beer for Beasts was 20 unique beers brewed in nearby Red Hook at the Sixpoint Brewery in small batches of 20 gallons or so. Most of the beers were collaborative efforts of Sixpoint brewers and friends, and many of the beers were frankly unusual.

One double-IPA called Decade-ence featured 10 strains of hops, while another known as Big DIPA incorporated two hop varieties, then was heavily dry-hopped with a third. And those were among the more normal brews. To me the most interesting included Overpowered, which was made with adventitious yeast strains gathered on the roof of the brewery, and tasted fascinatingly skanky and sour; and Berserker Bock, flavored with Stumptown coffee beans roasted a few blocks from Sixpoint.

The scene inside the Bell House during the height of the afternoon festivities.

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Part of the Sixpoint crew poses for a picture between sessions.

There was a Mexican beer lightly flavored with chiles and cumin, a doublt-alt Dusseldorf-style beer, and an English bitter dedicated to the lapping waters of the Gowanus Canal, only a couple of blocks distant from Bell House. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the beers, called Triphop Grapefruit IPA, was made by Cathy Erway and me, both neophyte brewers, using three hop strains, a grapefruit concentrate, and a tincture of grapefruit skin.

Guests were entertained with a burlesque show, and food carts in the street outside the club provided sustenance: Calexico, Mile End, Pizza Moto, and Prime Meats (whose chef, Willy Prunty, had also contributed one of the beers, an amber saison/American pale ale hybrid). As the temperature outside dipped below the day’s high of 44, it became something of a struggle to wait outside for food.

But that was the only flaw in a day that offered some fascinating brews for the intellectually engaged beer drinker, and the crowd couldn’t have been more convivial. Here’s hoping the event recurs next year.

A burlesque queen provided some R-rated entertainment.

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Cutting the Pizza Moto margherita.

Perfect slices of Montreal-style smoked meat from Mile End Deli (look for them Tuesday at Choice Eats).

What could go better with beer than bratwurst, either with or without kraut, from Prime Meats?

Tacos from the Calexico cart, evening session.

The event benefited the Humane Society of New York.

Shane Welch and Cathy Erway of Sixpoint survey the crowd as Jason Alstrom of BeerAdvocate looks on, far right.

Red-shirted volunteers (of which I was one) pulled the suds.

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