Threes the charm! Gowanus brewery wins state’s top beer prize

King of cups: Brewers Joel Ford, left, and Ben Petersen, right, hold the Governor’s Excelsior Cup, while Threes Brewing co-founder Justin Israelson hoists the farmhouse ale that won this year’s prize.
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The best beer comes from Brooklyn — and that’s official!

The second annual New York State Craft Beer Competition gave its highest honor to Threes Brewing last week, giving the Gowanus brewery the Governor’s Excelsior Cup for the second year in a row. In a blind taste test, the brewery’s Belgian farmhouse-style ale Passing Time Grisette beat out 641 other beers from around the state. Winning the top award in New York’s vibrant beer scene is an incredible feat, said the brewery’s co-founder.

“We were thrilled, it’s really exciting,” said Josh Stylman. “It’s a great honor to be recognized with such a great beer group.”

Last year, the brewery’s Vliet pilsner also earned the top award. Winning two years in a row helps to validate the work the brewery has done, said Stylman.

“It’s nice to get some recognition — the team here works really hard, day in and day out,” he said. “We hope that it brings attention to the brewery and the brewing community here in Brooklyn.”

Stylman was especially happy that the winning beer was in the Farmhouse Ale category, he said, a category of tart, mostly low-alcohol beers that often does not get the attention of more strongly flavored varieties, he said.

“It’s a style that’s really unsung. It’s a grisette, not as popular as lagers or IPAs, so we were especially excited to see them recognize a style that’s a little more subtle,” he said.

Threes Brewing focuses on lagers, farmhouse ales, and sour beers. This year, it also won a bronze medal in the Wild and Sour Ales category, for its Eternal Return: Sauv Blanc brew.

The Passing Time beer is currently available on draft at the brewery, and a new batch of bottles should be available in about two weeks, said Stylman.

Two other Brooklyn brewers were also winners in this year’s competition.

Braven Brewing earned a bronze medal in the hotly-contested New England IPA category for its Flashy Ways NEIPA, a brew they submitted at the very last minute, said the brewery’s co-founder. As soon as he tasted the beer, he knew he had something special, said Marshall Thompson.

“I looked at Eric [Feldman], our co-founder, and said ‘This is best beer we’ve ever made,’ ” said Thompson. “We’re super excited about it.”

The beer is the first recipe created by Braven’s new head brewer, Zach Monard, who previously worked at .

For now, the best place to taste the Flashy Ways is at the Sampler bar and beer store in Bushwick, a few blocks from Braven’s upcoming taproom, now planning to open in September.

Sunset Park’s Five Boroughs Brewing also took home a bronze medal, in the Belgian-style category for its Quad beer. That brew is currently available in its taproom.

Threes Brewing [333 Douglass St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 522–2110,]. $7.

The Sampler [234 Starr St. between Wyckoff and Irving avenues in Bushwick. (718) 243–9005,].

Five Boroughs Brewing [215 47th St. between Second and Third avenues in Sunset Park, (718) 355–8575,].

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Posted 12:00 am, August 7, 2018
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