The exquisite synthesis of music, culture, cuisine and craft beer that is the Brooklyn Brewery Mash tour will return for its fourth year in 2016, visiting nine world cities. Free concerts, rare beer dinners and the spirit of discovery and urban exploration will accompany The Mash in its wake as it visits the following cities:
London – May 12-15
Stockholm – May 26-29
Chicago – Aug. 11-14
Philadelphia – Aug. 25-28
Paris – Sept. 22-25
Washington D.C. – Oct. 6-9
Boston – Oct. 13-16
Austin – Nov. 3-6
New Orleans – Nov. 17-20
Each iteration of The Mash will be custom-tailored to its specific city, with a theme built around emerging neighborhoods and the discovery of new experiences in what might at first glance appear to be a normal setting. The festival will last four days in each location, launching with an invite-only tasting of rare Brooklyn Brewery beer before segueing into events centered around national headlining musical acts and the arts of cookery and beer pairing. Here’s a breakdown of each day of the festival.
Thursday – Brooklyn Beta Test
These invite-only Thursday events feature unreleased “Ghost Bottles” and Brooklyn Quarterly Experiments from the brewery’s extensive cellars, led by Gabe Barry, the brewery’s Beer Education & Community Ambassador. Ghost Bottles, as those lucky enough to have sampled them before will know, are the product of whimsical experimentation by Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver and the company’s brewing team. They’re only poured by brewers in person, and represent forays into the ephemeral side of brewing, with the possibility of one day becoming wide releases. Several classic Brooklyn beers, such as the lemon and spice-tinged Sorachi Ace saison, initially began life as Ghost Bottles. If you follow @BrooklynBrewery on Twitter, you’ll have a chance to win passes for this event.
Thursday – Feast
The brewery describes this ticketed, bacchanalia-like table as a dining experience that participants will remember for a long, long while. The meal is the brainchild of Brooklyn Brewery Chef and Head of Culinary Programming, Andrew Gerson, who travels with the Mash tour and treats the Feast as his statement event. Carrying out and building upon the philosophy of craft beer as a culinary implement laid out by Garrett Oliver in his seminal 2005 book The Brewmaster’s Table, he throws the now-familiar concept of the “beer dinner” out the window by designing a meal meant to be shared and taken at one’s own pace.
“Rather than telling the guest what they should expect or experience, it’s a celebration of seasonal ingredients and the versatility of beer that they discover for themselves,” Gerson explains. “There’s not one person proselytizing. Instead, there’s a welcoming opportunity to explore for yourself. So although there are some more intentional pairings on the table, all of the beers are presented at the same time—you taste and pair at will.”
In the 11 years since The Brewmaster’s Table, Gerson has had a perfect vantage point to watch the acclimation of beer geek palates to craft beer as a food pairing. No longer is it necessary to convince drinkers of beer’s place in fine dining, which means chefs are more free than ever to stretch the boundaries of traditional pairings.
“I think that some of the old concepts of verticals, or starting with your lightest and moving to darker or biggers beers is a little outdated,” Gerson said. “We’ve seen how palates have changed, and now we can break those former concepts. The tasters are much more adventurous and comfortable in exploring than ever.”
Tickets will be available 6 weeks from the date of each city’s Brooklyn Mash.
Friday – Free Show
Fridays during the Brooklyn Mash will feature a variety of national headlining musical acts presented by Brooklyn Brewery and Timberland, each tailored to their own home cities. Supported by emerging local artists, the concerts will be presented free of charge. Headliners will be announced in advance of each Brooklyn Mash.
Saturday – Beer Mansion
Saturday features The Mash’s most unique and unmissable craft beer event, known as Beer Mansion. Described by Brooklyn as a “choose your own adventure” beer fest of sorts, each Beer Mansion will take place in unexpected locations off the beaten path. The London Beer Mansion, for instance, takes place in a former auto body shop. In Washington D.C., meanwhile, an ancient church becomes a newly rechristened temple of beer.
Each Beer Mansion location will feature interactive activities, art installations and tasting opportunities with beers from both Brooklyn and other local craft brewers. Separated into individual rooms that are dedicated to specific beer styles and flavor profiles—such as the IPA room, saison room, barrel-aged room, etc.—Beer Mansion will provide equal opportunities for education in beer styles and the sampling of rare releases. Ghost Bottles from Brooklyn Brewery, unsurprisingly, will be present.
Sunday – Neighborhood Immersion
Sunday’s all-day event embraces the locale of each Mash city, sending participants on a neighborhood immersion into “emerging,” possibly overlooked neighborhoods in each city. Tickets for the immersion include beers and specials at various neighborhood bars, restaurants and shops throughout the area—a curated selection of highlights in that city neighborhood you’ve really been meaning to visit for months. Brooklyn Brewery and Timberland will jointly run a “trailhead” first stop on the tour, complete with beer, boots and maps of the area, before turning guests loose on their own urban exploration. Keeping with the festival’s theme of independence and exploration, attendees are then simply encouraged to wander at their own pace, exploring locales both noted in the program and those that are unknown.
Sunday – DIY Dinner Party
The Mash closes on Sunday night with a combination cooking class and beer dinner, the confluence of Chef Andrew Gerson’s cuisine from Thursday’s Feast and the beer education that guests have absorbed via Beer Mansion and the Neighborhood Immersion. The chef will demonstrate various courses to the group of dinner party participants, who will then break apart to prepare the different dishes and then come back together for a collaborative, family-style meal. And naturally, said meal will be consumed with beer. Lots and lots of beer, to lubricate conversation and new experiences. Or as Gerson put it, “Our goal is to use deliciousness as an icebreaker.”
Tickets for the 2016 Brooklyn Mash tour are now on sale, and are available at the festival’s official website. Tickets for future Mash cities will be on sale 6 weeks out from the date of each Mash.