On Saturday, Crown Heights’ neo-beer hall Berg’n hosted a Kentucky Derby-themed beer release party for Sixpoint’s Jammer Gose, the latest in the Red Hook brewery’s Mad Scientist Series. The event, lovingly titled “Get Jammed, Seersucka!,” featured a costume contest, Derby-inspired food, buckets of Sixpoint cans and a special sudsy twist on the Mint Julep. To say that people got into it would be an understatement: springy pastels, wide-brimmed hats and dapper three piece suits dominated the crowd’s style direction, while the bar maintained lines six-deep throughout the night, refreshing party goers constant need for sweet-salty libation.
By the time I arrived, it was nearing 5 p.m., and the pre-race excitement was palpable. A giant projector screen had been dropped at the far end of the beer hall to show the race, yet it was paradoxically bright. The shamefully perfect, sunny May day was somehow both a blessing and a curse. A bartender clad in teal blue flannel sweat it out behind the bar, hurriedly restocking his cocktail station while eager patrons eyed him steadily, credit cards in hand.
“Wanna try the Sixpoint while you’re waiting? It’s a gose,” he said, shoving a half-empty can of Sixpoint’s newest offering into the outstretched hands of a thirsty young man who had wiggled his way up to the bar’s edge. “Go ahead, try it–I’ve got a million cans the stuff.”
“What? A what?” shouted the sharply elbowed gentleman, accepting the teal can and slugging it back with curious enthusiasm. “Oh, wow! That’s really good!”
The Jammer is just as fun and crushable as its ocean blue nanokeg. It drinks, fittingly, like a summery trip to the beach. Though modern gose has garnered a distinctly puckery reputation, Sixpoint’s version isn’t quite as sour and focuses instead on the style’s signature saline qualities. Jammer opens with a pleasant floral aroma, followed by the slightest hint of tart citrus mellowing into easy-drinking sweet grain and finishing with a sea breeze-inspired blast of drying salt. Unlike many light beers, the Jammer’s carbonation isn’t overwhelming, allowing the hand harvested sea salt to settle on the palate, so you can truly experience its full thirst-quenching potential.
The Jammer, great on its own, was made even better by the event’s signature drink, the Jammer Julep. When sucked through a wide straw, this dangerous mix of muddled mint leaves, Kelvin lime slushie, bourbon and, of course, Jammer Gose, went down far too easy for an early afternoon beverage. If you want to be wasted by 6 p.m., (and hating your life by 10 a.m.), I highly recommend shaking up your own. At Berg’n, this modified Derby classic was being served in festive Sixpoint glasses shaped like a wide-mouth can with a curved lip and waves etched into the sides.
“Is this glassware new?” I asked Sixpoint Brewing Manager Heather McReynolds, admiring the candy cocktail cooling my sweaty palms.
“Oh, yeah, yeah,” she said, smiling from beneath her floppy brim. “It’s for the beer!”
Of course! The whole ocean theme thing really came together for me at that moment, just in time for the day’s highly anticipated race to begin. As the horses trotted out to the starting line, we all chose our favorites.
“There’s one called Fermento, or something like that,” yelled the Sixpoint Events Coordinator, Jamie Leithead, over the din. “It makes me think of a beer superhero!”
“I’ll take that one!” shouted Heather, raising a blue can to cheers her colleague. “That one’s called Bolo, which sounds like Yolo–Meredith, you take that one.”
Well into my second Jammer Julep, I rightfully accepted. Yolo/Bolo it is. The shot was fired–is there really a shot fired? I don’t remember–and they were off. Two minutes later, the race was over, the Derby had a new champ, and we still had a few cans left in our Sixpoint combo bucket. As our fellow Derby Day patrons began to abandon their picnic tables and flock back to the bar, orders for Jammer Juleps resumed at an alarming rate and bartenders rushed to unpack mountains of seafoam-hued boxes.
“I think we’re going to drink all the beer we made in one night,” said Heather. American Pharaoh might have taken the title, but as far as summer drinking goes, I’m doubling down on the Jammer.