Coney Island Lager–Cafe Grumpy collaboration

Pumpkin-spice espresso ale to debut in fall

Brooklyn Daily
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This brew bubbling between the Coney Island and Newtown creeks will get you buzzed in more ways than one.

The coffee snobs at Greenpoint’s Cafe Grumpy are joining forces with Coney Island Lager to create a new coffee-beer blend due to debut this fall — a pumpkin-spice espresso ale. The makers of the People’s Playground’s hometown brew said they reached out to several Brooklyn enterprises about a collaboration, but the Meserole Avenue roaster, famous for its central role on the hit Home Box Office show “Girls,” perked up right away.

“We reached out to a bunch of businesses and some of them were just like, ‘Huh? What are you talking about?’ ” said Alan Newman, president and founder of Burlington-based Alchemy and Magic, which bought Coney Island Lager last year. “But Grumpy, they were really enthusiastic — they jumped at the chance.”

The java gurus said they were eager to blend their beans with another borough business’ wares and were impressed at Coney Island Lager’s attention to detail during the development process.

“They treat every ingredient really seriously. It’s not just a flavoring they throw in there,” said Grumpy founder Caroline Bell.

The result, Bell said, was a caffeine-laced ale like no other.

“It’s two things that people like to drink, together. It’s fun. We taste this coffee every day, but it’s interesting to taste it in a beer,” said Bell. “It’s very subtle, complex, unexpected.”

The cold-coffee collaboration will be brewed this autumn in a small batch, which is the embodiment of what Newman envisions for the planned seaside Coney Island Lager brewer, which he hopes to open by winter 2015. The main brewing and bottling plant will be in Florida, but the Sodom by the Sea suds-works will be a laboratory for new ideas and flavors to be made and distributed locally.

“We want it to be a place where anybody can come in with a concept for a beer, and we’ll work with them to develop it and produce it,” said Newman. “It’s going to be a small-scale place, not a major facility.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 12:43 pm, May 2, 2014
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