Bagels in beer? Talea Beer teams up with Black Seed Bagels on waste-reducing collab

talea bagel beer
Talea Beer Co. has teamed up with Black Seed Bagels and Gotham Greens on two new beers.
Photo courtesy of Talea Beer Co.

Beer and bagels: a match made in heaven?

The culinary combination may seem strange, but Talea Beer and Black Seed Bagels are working together to put bagels into brews — literally.

The two companies have teamed up with Gotham Greens to produce two limited-edition beers brewed with mash from surplus bagels. The beers — the Lemon Basil Weekender beer, made with Gotham Greens’ basil, and the Experimental Everything Bagel Beer, launched at Talea taprooms on Thursday, just before Earth Day.

talea founders
Talea founders LeAnn Darland and Tara Hankinson. File photo by Sydney Butler

Talea co-founder Tara Hankinson said the company has been working to expand their market past the typical “beer bros” catered to by most craft breweries. More and more women are becoming craft beer fans, she said, but market research shows that most feel “unappreciated” by the industry.

At the same time, the Talea team has always enjoyed collaborating with other businesses in slightly out-of-the box ways, Hankinson said. 

“One of our core goals is reaching more people who aren’t part of craft beer, and what better way to do it than with a brand that is seemingly not a fit for a craft beer brewery?” she said. 

In an effort to reduce waste, Black Seed Bagels has been turning their extra bagels into “reusable bagel meal” and offering it to bakeries and breweries, Hankinson said. Given Talea’s ethos, it seemed like a perfect opportunity. 

The first step in brewing any beer is to soak grains like barley, wheat and oats in hot water to create a sugary liquid called wort, which feeds the yeast in the fermentation process. For the two Black Seed Beers, Talea added what are essentially bagel crumbs to the mix.

The bagels don’t affect the taste of the beers, so the Talea team had a blank slate to create some new flavors. 

talea lemon basil beer
The beers are brewed with bagel mash from Black Seed and fresh basil from Gotham Greens. Photo courtesy of Talea Beer Co.

Their Weekender beers are all “lagers with a twist,” Hankinson said, and they pair well with citrus. With spring moving in, a lemon-y beer seemed just right — especially with some basil from Gotham Greens. Thus, the Lemon Basil Weekender beer was born.

For the second beer, they wanted to branch out.

“We have the superfans, we have beer nerd fans, we have people who get really excited by our more culinary-inspired side, so we usually try to make a batch of something that may sound like a turnoff to some people, but that kind of challenges our brewing team,” Hankinson said.

Her co-founder, LeAnn Darland, had recently tried an everything bagel beer from an Italian brewery — so they decided to make their own. 

They wanted to embrace the “most salient characteristics” of an everything bagel, and decided that the flaky garlic and onion stood out the most — so those are the big flavors in the Experimental Everything Bagel Beer.

“That’s pretty much what the beer tastes like, but in a highly aromatic way,” Hankinson said. “It is potent, it will hit those flavor receptors in that way.” 

Both beers are limited-run — they only produced enough of the Everything Bagel beer for a few hundred pours across their taprooms in Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, the West Village and Bryant Park, she said — and they’ll also be available in some restaurants and stores. 

Talea is officially launching the partnership with an event at all four of their taprooms on Sunday, April 21. Visitors who buy a Lemon Basil beer will receive a complimentary basil seedling, and Black Seed Bagels will be offering free open-faced sandwiches to the first 200 guests who buy the Lemon Basil or Everything Bagel beer. 

beer pour
The beers launched at Talea’s taprooms earlier this week. File photo courtesy of Talea Beer Co.

Hankinson said that from a values-driven perspective, she would love to continue the partnership — though they will have to work with their brewing team to see how the bagel crumbs affected the beer-making process.

Talea is trying to become more eco-friendly in other ways, she said, and they have another exciting project coming up. Beer making uses a lot of water and a lot of grain, she said, and many breweries give their spent grain to farms to feed their livestock.

But there are no big farms in Brooklyn, so they have to pay to send their old grains out — but not for long.

“We are launching dog treats in a couple weeks using [that] leftover grain as the primary ingredient,” Hankinson said.