Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster who gave us bacon beer, so when Brooklyn Brewery releases a new limited-offer, draft-only concoction (as it does every three or four months) we get excited.
We like to imagine Oliver holed up in a windowless laboratory in Williamsburg, surrounded by spices from India and barley from Newfoundland, furiously scribbling chemical equations on a dry-erase board. But he got some help for this latest installment of the Brewmaster’s Reserve series. Cuvée La Boîte is a collaboration with Lior Lev Sercarz, the self-styled “spice whisperer” and proprietor of La Boîte Biscuits & Spices, in Hell’s Kitchen.
According to Oliver, this one is a “round, soft beer” brewed in the Belgian “grand cru” (i.e. high-end) style — using 60% barley malt and 40% raw winter wheat, as well as honeyed fruit and fresh kaffir lime leaves. Sercarz’s MishMash #33 spice (a blend of lemon, saffron, and crystallized honey) is added into the kettle for an “earthy, sandalwood character,” Oliver tells us. A touch of Espelette peppers, a rare dried red pepper from the eponymous commune in southwest France, adds a spiciness to the brew’s finish, which “builds a warm glow as you drink the beer,” Oliver says.
And let’s face it, a warm glow is pretty much all we ask of a beer. Look for Cuvée La Boîte at select bars and restaurants by the end of the month.