Last year MC Motors in Dalston held, in my eyes, the best beer event of the year in Brooklyn Brewery Beer Mansion. Nobody really knew what they were in for as they stepped through the doors of MC Motors, so to walk into a maze of rooms pouring top beers from both Brooklyn and other breweries, all for a £10 entry, blew our minds. The whole of MC Motors was decked out head to toe in Brooklyn branding, we drank some of the best beers I had all year long, there was loads of fun and it turned into this mysterious event that everyone loved. Without the surprise of what was inside I think this year was going to struggle to keep up with the magic of the previous year. There was more explanatory ticket structure this year, with tikects priced at £37 and below depending on when you bought your tickets, we knew that the inclusive pouring set up was going to take part again. Untappd venue menus gave us an idea of what beers would be on and hinted that there were different themed rooms, so although I think the event showed the same top qualities as the previous year I found I did miss the pure surprise factor it had in 2016.
The festivities started with The Stoop, the courtyard you first walk through to get into MC Motors. The Stoop was where the lagers were at, serving up the classic Brooklyn Lager, American Ale and the very refreshing perfect starting beer Summer Ale. It was also where local brewery 40FT was showcasing their 40FT Larger, an easy drinking lager that easily holds up in quality compared to the Brooklyn beers it sat next to on the bar. Food offerings from Voodoo Ray pizzas helped people stodge up their stomachs before stepping into the world of Brooklyn Brewery. Records from artists such as Action Bronson and Anderson Paak (much to my delight) was being spun by the DJ and the sun was out, giving you the perfect start to your Brooklyn Beer Manson journey.
Walking down stairs you entered this Hawaiian looking themed room called Tart of the Tropics, equipped with palm trees, straw hut tables, a cocktail bar and the stage for the musical performances it gave you a feeling of being on holiday. As the name suggests this is where the sour beers could be found, including the new Brooklyn Brewery Bel Air Sour, a beautifully balanced tongue teaser of a sour, which if you take away the amazing heaver hitters we had later in the evening, was my favourite beer of the evening. I really hope Bel Air Sour will be made available in the UK as I will certainly be trying to get my hands on some. I returned to the room much later in the evening to visit the beer cocktail bar, beer cocktails are something that I haven’t been completely sold on before but both the Sorachi Ace cocktails on the evening was refreshing and worked well for me.
Linking the upstairs rooms together was The Forest, on the bar was IPAs, there was low lighting and trees setting the atmosphere and games being enjoyed by large groups of friends. Beers such as Forest Road Work, Brooklyn Defender IPA, Thornbridge Puja IPA and a few different IPAs from E.C Dahls Bryggeri featured on the bar.
The smells from the Anatomy of a Beer room grabbed you by the nostrils and pulled you in. Set up in front of a giant life size model patient with different parts of his body for dips (kind of looking like a giant game of Operations) was Chef Andrew Clarke, using some interesting looking BBQs called Yakitori Grill (also known as a Konro or Hibachi Grill) to cook different meats, which was then paired with some of the special Brookyln Brewery Ghost Bottles. Clayton, my plus one and avid BBQ fiend got very excited about the Yakitori Grillss, I hadn’t seen a BBQ like it before and the meat we ate was gorgeous, hopefully I will cross paths with with this grilling techniques again some time soon.
The final room was The Darkness, which at one point literally fell into darkness as the few lights all blew! The Darkness was a room lit only by a few lights, enhancing our taste buds to experience the big heavy hitting beers such as Brooklyn Brewery Chocolate Stout, Black Ops and Intensified Barrel-Aged Coffee Porter. There is obviously a lot of hype behind Black Ops and rightfully so, it didn’t disappoint smooth easy drinking Russian Imperial stout with a slightly thin body which allows to be enjoyed a little too easy! Equally as impressive was the Intensified Barrel-Aged Coffee Porter, with beautifully balanced coffee, chocolate, roasted flavours all coming together in a perfect treat, hiding the fact it was 11.8%. I will confess, I probably had a few too many samples of both in here but you must take advantage of being able to sample these delights as they don’t come often.
Over the two-day events there was private tastings with the man himself Garret Oliver, Ghost Bottles was pulled out of the cellars of Brooklyn and shared amongst the room, who was no doubt hooked on every word Garrett said. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in but from I was told it was very good.
I went on the Friday night, it seemed a little less busy than the previous year but with every beer geek and their uncle over in Copenhagen for the Mikkeller Beer Celebration the numbers seemed ok. Saturday night however looked like the night to go, lots and lots of merry festivities flooded my Instagram and Twitter page. Just as it was last year, Brooklyn Brewery Beer Mansion was a marketing PR dream come true, MC Motors is a truly fantastic space to hold events and it looked great dripping in Brooklyn merchandise. The Beer Mansion had to grow after the surprise element of last year and I think they did a good job of making it into a festival/beer experience by travelling through the different beer styles. In some places it was better than last year and I hope we see Brooklyn Brewery Beer Mansion in Dalston again next year bringing back even more excellent beers and surprises.
Disclaimer – I had free tickets for myself and a plus one to this event, all drink was free of charge but food was paid for. This has not changed my opinion on the beer or the event.