New Yorkers can indulge in their love of both bagels and beer.
Carroll Gardens brewery Folksbier has teamed up with Black Seed Bagels for an experiment resulting in a tasty beer and a solution to food waste.
Black Seed Glow Up Berliner Weisse, available starting Thursday, uses actual Black Seed bagels in the brew. The collaboration came out of a longtime friendship and a shared belief in sustainability and quality, according to Folksbier proprietor Travis Kauffman and Black Seed partner Noah Bernamoff.
“We have been thinking a lot the last year or so about ways to reduce our environmental impact,” Bernamoff says of the ever-growing quick-serve business (there are five NYC locations plus a sixth in the works). “We’ve been making pretty obvious bagel-adjacent things from our bagel waste, like bagel chips, bread crumbs, croutons. … And then [we thought], how do we transform bagels into something totally different and totally unique and special?”
When Black Seed had the idea to use their unsold bagels to make beer, enter Folksbier. The brewery was a natural fit for this collaboration ideologically, Bernamoff says, as both businesses emphasize high-quality ingredients and traditional techniques.
“What better way to ensure that your bagel beer comes out delicious than to go somewhere where all the beer is delicious?,” Bernamoff says.
Folksbier’s Glow Up series is made in the classic Berliner Weisse style and refermented with different local fruits. The Black Seed beer is refermented with honey instead of fruit because the bagels are made with honey, Kauffman says.
“It’s just another layer of being able to emulate his process and use ingredients he uses,” Kauffman says.
The bagels Folksbier got from Black Seed themselves were also a natural fit.
“Beer is based around grain, mostly barley, that’s been malted,” Kauffman explains. “The malting process … takes raw barley and frees up the starches to be converted into sugars that can be eaten by yeast and turned into beer. The bagels have already gone through that process so we add them right in with the grain.”
So what does the bagel-brewed beer taste like? Kauffman says the honey works with the natural preservatives in a Berliner Weisse — alcohol, lactic acid and a little salt — to lock in ephemeral, floral flavors. Bernamoff describes the bagels’ contribution as a depth of flavor rather than a front-palate sensation.
“You don’t take a sip of the beer and think, ‘Oh, man, I taste bagel,” Bernamoff says; instead, there’s the tartness, brightness and acidity of the Berliner Weisse, the sense of the bagels’ honey and naturally leavened dough, and a hint of the smokiness the bagels get from their wood-burning oven in the beer’s body, he says.
Black Seed Glow Up is available while supplies last at Folksbier, as well as at Grand Army and Celestine in Brooklyn and The Smile, Old Rose and As Is in Manhattan.
The two brands have plans to keep the partnership going to experiment with more beer flavors while also helping to eliminate Black Seed’s food waste.
“If we can save the environment and make beer at the same time, isn’t that the greatest outcome?,” Bernamoff says.
IF YOU GO
Folksbier will host a tasting event for Black Seed Glow Up Berliner Weisse, accompanied by beer-boiled bagel tartines and more, on Saturday from noon-4 p.m. | 101 Luquer St., Carroll Gardens