Happy new beer: Bronx Brewery, local business and writers collaborate on 2020 nightcap

Amaurys Grullon and Josue Caceres hold Year Gone Hazy outside of the Bronx Brewery.
Photos courtesy of Bronx Brewery, Bronx Native and BX Writers

The Bronx Brewery is taking the phrase “write off 2020” to an entirely new level.

Working with Bronx Native clothing shop and the collective BX Writers, the brewery collaboratively released Year Gone Hazy, a darker-than-average hazy IPA, which sends a literal message to 2020 from the Bronx.

The label for Year Gone Hazy consists entirely of passages written by Bronx residents, who briefly shared what they endured during this trying year. There were so many submissions that the brewery had to split them between two cans.

Year Gone Hazy by the Bronx Brewery

Some entries stayed on the lighthearted side, such as the individual who “didn’t wear pants from March to November,” though, more impactful sentences occupied the can too.

“2020 hammered home the fact that, at the end of the day, we all need each other. Thank you for the lessons of perseverance, humility and togetherness,” one Bronx person wrote.

Many of these lines are part of larger, personal passages written by Bronxites, ones which will be published in a book done by BX Writers and its leader, Josue Caceres who also works as a brand manager for Bronx Native.

Caceres fell into an 11-day coma after contracting COVID-19 earlier in the year, an experience he shared both on the can and on the page in the new beer and book release.

“We first launched Bronx Native with a community mission in mind, to give our borough a positive identity. Doing something like [this] where people will literally see the snippets of Bronx thoughts on a beer can and then read their true stories in our collaborative book is something amazing,” Amaurys Grullon, Bronx Native owner said, adding how powerful his own colleague’s story is.

It is Bronx Native which will also be launching a line a merchandise to coincide with the release.

Josue Cacares and Amaurys Grullon in the Bronx Brewery’s backyard.

As for the beer itself, it is inspired by hazy IPA predecessor World Gone Hazy, but this time, “taken to another level,” according to Kevin Scheitrum of the brewery.

It has a malt-forward taste with hints of a juicy, tropical citrus accent; one brewer even said they tasted Skittles in the hazy IPA.

Like Bronx Native and BX Writers, the Bronx Brewery also emphasized the unique community engagement that the collaborative project was able to bring — it is one of many recent community outreach efforts by the beermakers.

They previously sent 10,000 beers to frontline workers at the height of the pandemic as part of the brewery’s “Cheers for Heroes” initiative in addition to other fundraisers for mental health throughout the year.

To specially celebrate the close of 2020 and the opening of many Year Gone Hazy cans, the Bronx Brewery will also be doing limited bottling of one-and-a-half liter bottles to be dipped in wax with a silver, metallic shine for this holiday season. The brewery is doing this for the first time in five years as “an extra festive feel to a year that needs it.”

Piggybacking off the beer’s release is some major culinary news coming out of the brewery.

Empanology, a highly known residential food truck at the Bronx Brewery, is launching a boroughwide delivery service which includes western Queens and northern Brooklyn for its 60 rotating empanada flavors and growing sandwich menu.

 

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A post shared by Empanology, Inc (@empanology)

For Empanology owner Jason Alicea, this is the first time he will be conducting a seven weekday operation with his handmade dough and fillings which are “made in small batches with love.”

Next year, his iconic Bronx brand will also be launching a frozen line of empanadas as well.

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