Spuyten Duyvil NYC
359 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
One of our favorite annual beer events in the city is Cantillon Zwanze Day at Spuyten Duyvil NYC. It’s always a blast celebrating the holiday in the bar’s spacious, comfortable backyard. The atmosphere is relaxed and this year the weather was absolutely perfect. And, of course, Spuyten pulls out all the stops, offering a huge selection of rare bottles and beers on tap from the world’s top lambic producers—and this year was no exception.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the yearly event, Zwanze Day was started in 2008 by legendary Cantillon brewer and blender Jean Van Roy. Since then, lambic lovers worldwide have celebrated the day each September. Van Roy brews a new, unique beer especially for the holiday at his Brussels brewery and then ships it to about 100 lucky breweries and bars around the globe to be tapped on the same day.
This year’s Zwanze variant, called Manneken Pise, was a blend of 2-year-old lambic aged in Italian Chianti, Amarone and Sangiovese wine barrels. It’s a gueuze–style lambic with a beautiful balance of citrus acidity and a mild fruitiness gained from the variety of wine barrels. For only $15, Spuyten sold a pour with a limited-edition glass made especially for the event to the first 100 people in line (which started at 6:45 a.m, though people who arrived as late as 10:00 a.m. for the 11:00 a.m. received both the glass and special beer).
Other Cantillon offerings on tap included Rose De Gambrinus (a raspberry lambic), Kriek (a cherry lambic), and rarities like St. Lamvinus (a Merlot lambic), and Vigneronne (an Italian white wine grape lambic). It’s a good thing that the bar offers complementary antacids to help you get through a long day of drinking those amazing sour beers!
One of our favorite lambics of the day was Tilquin’s Oude Pinot Gris, which was sold in 750 mL bottles. The beer has a surprisingly high ABV for a lambic at about 8%, but you would never know because of the perfect balance of fruit, acidity, and barnyard funk.
Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of the event is the camaraderie of those in attendance. For Zwanze Day only, the bar allows patrons to bring bottles of beer to share—a big part of the spirit of the holiday. It was a blast to share our own bottles and to try so many amazing beers thanks to the generosity of everyone who attended. Each year seems to get better than the last and we’re already counting down the days until next year to spend another beautiful day with our great friends in the NYC beer community.