Beer Review: Industrial Arts Brewing’s TOOLS of the TRADE

Name: Tools of the Trade
Brewing Company: Industrial Arts Brewing Company
Location: Garnerville, NY
Style: Pale Ale – American
ABV: 4.9%

From the beers page of Industrial Arts Web site:

Snappy pink grapefruit, fresh and bright. Very highly drinkable.

While Industrial Arts Brewing may be fairly new, they opened about two years ago, brewmaster / owner Jeff O’Neill is far from new to the craft beer / brewing industry. The Flower Power IPA he created for Ithaca Brewing Company is renowned (listed  on VinePair as one of the 25 most important beers in American Craft beer history) and stints at Peekskill Brewing have given Industrial Arts an immediate cache within the craft beer community. After having two of their beers, it seems those expectations are well-founded. I enjoyed Metric, Industrial Art’s interpretation of a Pilsner last year, but this review focuses on Industrial Art’s delicious American Pale Ale – Tools of the Trade, also their flagship beer.

Crack of the can, pour of the beer and my glass is filled with a yellow-orange beer that looks slightly lighter (or even clearer) than I’d expect a Pale Ale to look, especially one labeled as an XPA. Inhaling the beer, I sensed hops with a piney and slightly bitter citrus profile. I was reminded a bit of the Sierra Nevada’s iconic Pale Ale (the #1 beer on that list I linked in the previous paragraph).

First sip is a really nice blast of hops and a good balance of citrus notes that match the aroma with a enough of malt  backbone to hold it all together. Again, similar to Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. That’s a compliment for those keeping track at home of the tasting notes. What makes this beer stand above Sierra; however, is the more prominent citrus characteristics. Some sweetness of grapefruit, maybe? A little bit of lemon, too, maybe. Whatever citrus fruits were evoked by the hops, they were very pleasing to my palate.

As I continued to enjoy the beer, that citrus/hop profile grew stronger and more pronounced. The (there’s the dreaded word again) mouthfeel was a little creamy at first. Tools of the Trade is a beer that you want to enjoy quickly, from the first sip to the sadness that the bottom of a beer glass / can / bottle once filled with delicious liquid always symbolizes.

Tools of the Trade is an immensely refreshing beer, a pleasant, yet subtle bite from the hops, a citrus flavor that encourages you to not let the beer sit undrunk for too long. I’ve mentioned my dislike for grapefruit in the past, so I’m slightly surprised at how pleasing the citrusy/hop profile of this beer is for my palate given that grapefruit is called out in the brewery’s description of the beer.

If I’m being even more honest, a year ago, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this beer. Only over say, the last six months, have I come to enjoy and appreciate hop-forward beers like Pale Ales and IPAs. What makes Tools of the Trade stand out so strongly is the pure elegance of the beer – standard ingredients with a focus on a honed, high-quality process to produce a remarkably well-balanced and delicious beer you’d like to have in your refrigerator in constant rotation.

Last week, I wasn’t sure what beer I would be picking up at the store, there wasn’t a new major release that was grabbing my attention. Then I listened to the third anniversary episode of the great Steal This Beer podcast and Jeff O’Neil (dubbed Chief by hosts Augie Carton and John Holl) was a guest. Luckily, my local beer stop had some of this beer in their fridge and here we are.

Strong Recommendation, link to Untappd 4-star rating.

Draught Diversions: Beer Podcasts

Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and basically non-review posts here at the Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…

Podcasts. They are ubiquitous. Since dropping SiriusXM Radio a few years ago, much of the time in my car is passed (along with a couple of hours at work) with either audio books or podcasts playing as my soundtrack. I’ve even appeared on a few podcasts and have considered starting a beer-related podcast with a good friend.

Be that as it may, the variety of podcasts in my listening queue ranges from a radio show that drops their daily show into iTunes, several geeky/science fiction and fantasy podcasts, and the subject of today’s Draught Diversion – Beer Podcasts. There are many, many beer podcasts available through the various providers like iTunes, but three have made their way into my constant rotation. After I go over them here, please let me know in the comments any beer-related podcasts you think I should be trying.

These podcasts will have some New Jersey/Northeast Leanings…

Steal This Beer
http://www.stealthisbeer.com/ | iTunes

Few beer people and brewers in NJ are as well-known or as respected as Augie Carton, owner of Carton Brewing. His beers smash all expectations of what beer can be and are extremely sought-after across the country. Augie is the chief imbiber on the podcast and he is joined on most episodes by Brian Casse of the I Drink Good Beer blog, Justin Kennedy and beer-writer extraordinaire John Holl where they most often record at Barcade in Jersey City, NJ.

In 100+ episodes over the past couple of years with about one new episode per week, the crew have had a range of guests on the show including David Walker of Firestone Walker brewery, Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing, and Jeremy Lees of NJ’s Flounder Brewing, among others. With the hosts living in NJ/Northeast, there’s a natural focus on breweries and beer people in the region, but those guests account for maybe about half of the episodes.

There is always lively discussion about various beer topics ranging from new breweries, the intricacies of beer styles, mini-rants about untapped, or whatever craft brewer AB InBev recently purchased. Most importantly, the heart of every show is the beer in the black glass. Why a black glass? So no characteristics of the beer can give clues as to what the beer is. Guests bring on a beer and try to stump our fine hosts. Or rather, the hosts tend to stump themselves when trying to guess what beer is in the black glass, like when they thought a stout was a pilsner.

All told, a fun way to pass an hour of listening time and a great way to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of beer with a few folks who are just hanging and shooting the shit.

After Two Beers (All About Beer Magazine)
http://allaboutbeer.com/podcast/ | iTunes

The episodes here are less frequent, but the focus is slightly different. John Holl hosts this one with the podcast functioning more as a one-on-one interview than a roundtable that Steal This Beer is. This podcast launched in 2016 and new episodes drop about once per month.

Because John has been writing about beer for so long and published a few books, he’s had the opportunity to speak to a wide range of people over the past year, including Phil Markowski of Two Roads Brewing in CT, Laura Bell of Bells’ Brewery in MI, and Rebecca Newman of Summit Brewing in MN among others.

The one-on-one element of this podcast allows a bit more of a spotlight to shine on the guests John has on the podcast.

Al Gatullo’s Craft Beer Cast
http://am970theanswer.com/content/all/al-gattullo-craft-beer | iTunes

Al is a local NJ guy and this is the most local of the three podcasts I’ve mentioned. Al’s Craft Beer Cast is also the beer podcast I most recently “discovered.” Al is a producer on Joe Piscopo’s radio show on AM970 the answer and on Saturday nights, Al broadcasts his beer show where he’s been talking beer since early 2016. Luckily for those of us who either don’t get reception of the radio station or aren’t otherwise able to listen on Saturday Nights, the radio show is available on Sundays in iTunes.

Many of Al’s guests have been local NJ brewers like the folks behind Jughandle Brewing in Tinton Falls, NJ and Departed Soles in Jersey City, NJ. Al also had non-NJ guests like Jim Koch of Samuel Adams/Boston Beer, Marcus Englet of Weihenstephaner, Germany and Greg Koch of Stone Brewing. Al does a great job with these interviews, and will often take his show on the road to NJ locations like Paragon Tap & Table in Clark, NJ which has a great beer selection. I’ve had dinner a few times with my folks who live in the next town over/my hometown.

Similar to how Augie and crew of Steal this Beer do their black glass thing, Al does a Suds and Duds segment where he talks about recent beers he had and enjoyed, or didn’t enjoy.

All three of these shows give a slightly different perspective, but what binds them all together is the love of good beer and sharing that passion for the pint with others.

If you haven’t listened to any of these, go to iTunes or their respective websites and give a listen.

Ein Prosit!