Ethan L. Johns Jul 3 , 2018

proves otherwise.

By Ethan L. Johns 
July 03, 2018

Image: The Bronx Brewery

Does your everyday IPA feel like a broken record, endlessly repeating itself with its signature bitter, with its headache-worthy ABV? It might be time to flip the disc.

Experimental, even radical brewing is the name of the game for B-Tracks beers, the endlessly interesting collaboration between the Bronx Brewery and neighboring Baldor Specialty Foods. Using a combination of celebrated and lesser-known ingredients, the two businesses surpassed expectations with their first series (which included the mouth-numbing “Yokozuna Wit,” crafted with Szechuan Buttons). Now, the duo is back with three new buzzworthy beers—one of which turns pineapple scraps into refreshing beverages.

To keep things sophisticated for a moment, the first two beers—“Limoncello Milkshake IPL” and “Tripel Muskateers”—are made with hard-to-find ingredients, sourced by Baldor.

This writer managed to make it out to the Bronx for a taste of the Limoncello Milkshake IPL, which was made available early in June. As promised, it was creamy and rich, with the bright citrus notes so typical of Sorrento lemons. And in true limoncello fashion, it was ninja-like with its 7.3-percent alcohol content—striking before you had a chance to realize your head was no longer between your shoulders. Or maybe that’s just because we didn’t have breakfast.

Tripel Muskateers, which was released on Friday in the brewery taproom, is a spicy Belgian Tripel brewed with Muscat wine grapes (Muscat grapes, Muskateers, get it?).
Perhaps the most interesting B-Tracks beer, though, is the “More to the Core” Kölsch, made with the rinds and cores of pineapples.

While everybody loves the zing of a ripe pineapple, most people slice off the skin and drop it straight in the bin. Get rid of the core, too, and you’re throwing away about half the weight of the pineapple.

When a major foodservice company like Baldor preps pineapples, that waste turns into a lot more than just a few pounds. So that’s why Baldor launched its Sparcs program(“scraps” spelled backwards, and stylized as “SparCs”), which takes food scraps and repurposes them for human consumption, for animal feed or for renewable energy.

For the More to the Core Kölsch, the Bronx Brewery is taking about 15 to 20 pounds of these pineapple sparcs (from about 40 pounds-worth of whole pineapple), making it a relatively limited-scale example of how other interested breweries could get involved in rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted.

So why don’t more breweries play around with food waste?

“Consistency is extremely important for a brewery of any size, but that doesn't mean seasonality can't also play a role,” said Nick Mezansky, marketing manager for Bronx Brewery, in an email. “For instance, we have a tier of beers dedicated to seasonal brewing and we give plenty of thought to the timing of our B-Tracks releases which are made available on a more limited basis.”

The Bronx Brewery, for its part, recycles all of its spent grain, giving it to bakers and pasta makers. Mezansky says that the majority gets turned over to Wilenta Carting, which turns waste grain and bread products into feed for cattle, pigs and chickens.

For now, the Bronx Brewery has exclusive access to Baldor’s full arsenal of obscure and specialty produce, as Baldor has no plans to collaborate with other breweries. If you’re interested in the B-Tracks series, make your plans to head to the Bronx before they run out; each new beer is limited to 140 cases.