If you’ve followed Eat Drink Law for the past few years, then you know that I am a fan of Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn. To put it simply, I love craft beer. I love innovation. So a company that has built its brand around craft beer innovation is near and dear to my heart. Now, that they have started occasionally sending me samples of their new brews has also been very nice, especially since their distribution to Cooperstown isn’t great. I can get their core brews pretty regularly, but many of their seasonals and more experimental beers never make it this far (I’m still sad that I haven’t had Beast Mode). Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to try C.R.E.A.M (a coffee blonde ale) and Hi-Res (a triple IPA).
So, what do I think of C.R.E.A.M?
I am a huge fan of coffee beers. There is just something about the complementary flavors and complexity of coffee and how it interacts with the malt and other flavors in beer. So, from my first coffee stouts and porters I have been in love. In fact, my fascination with the combo goes back even further to a bar in Portsmouth, NH that would put espresso shots (and sometimes ice cream) in my Guinness back in the 90s. Sixpoint’s own 3Beans and 4Beans have been amazing contributions to the coffee beer world and are still favorites that I pick up when I can. They are brewed in the dark and malty style that started my whole appreciation for the beer-coffee combo. But with Ommegang’s Joemmegang last year (using coffee roasted at Cooperstown’s own Stagecoach Coffee), I started to become aware that coffee could play as an ingredient in much, much more than the darkest end of the beer spectrum.
Enter Sixpoint’s C.R.E.A.M. A blonde ale with light sweetness , a creamy mouthfeel, and coffee in all of its glory. It’s the latte of coffee beers. Let’s take the acidity and complexity of roasty, toasty coffee and mellow it out in a creamy blonde ale. Delicious.
So, you may be wondering about the acronym. It stands for “Craft Rules Everything Around Me”. Not sure how it relates specifically to this beer, but it definitely represents what Sixpoint is and does. I love their mad scientists, which is an apt metaphor for the craft beer innovators they are. C.R.E.A.M. is another triumph.
What about Hi-Res as craft beer innovation?
I’m running out of room, but if you are a hop head, you should try this beer. It is a palate flooding, hi test, over-the-top hop experience. Definitely not a session beer, but a great experiment with the hop dimension of brewing.
What does beer have to do with me?
So, it is possible that not everyone who reads this blog is as gobsmacked about craft beer as I am. But I think Sixpoint is a study in being unique and having a distinctive voice in a crowded market. There are literally thousands of breweries in the U.S. today, not to mention imported brands. To be frank, just making good (or even great) beer isn’t enough unless you are only looking at a local market. Craft isn’t enough anymore. While craft continues to grow as a total market, new entrants are squeezing the local markets even as consolidation among established craft breweries is making distribution and price more competitive. To grow something substantial that has a presence beyond the “buy local” crowd, you need to find your voice and a way to deliver something amazing. Sixpoint does that by infusing their beer and their brand with constant innovation, art, and culture—taking “craft” to a level other breweries can’t keep up with.
So, whatever business you are in, are you limiting yourself to being a commodity in your local market? Or, like Sixpoint, are you pursuing something great that will stand out in a broader market and have someone hundreds of miles away searching for your product (and writing about it)?