Brooklyn Manhattan Project | Brooklyn Brewery

very good
75 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-27-2009

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 88
Photo of chuckreece
4.78/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a tulip glass at Leon's. Genuinely one of the finest beers I've ever tasted. Note that I am indeed a big fan of the Manhattan (the rye/sweet vermouth/bitters concoction), and that I had this beer after enjoying Leon's version of the Manhattan. But I can't imagine a richer, malty approximation of the Manhattan, and even though this is a rye beer, it stands up to the taste of the great sweet stouts (i.e., Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter). Not sure how they pulled it off, but this one is fine, fine, fine. Too bad I can't take some home. Keg only.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Sunset Grille in Allston. Served in a 13 oz tulip glass. Dark mahogany color. No head at all. Minimal carbonation to the point of looking flat. No bourbon smell detected. Taste was much less pronounced than I expected. No real bourbon, rye, or cherry flavor. Reminded me more of a bland winter warmer beer. I just don't get what Brooklyn was trying to do with this brew. They took a nice shot, but I think it missed the mark.

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Photo of glid02
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy brown color with a muddy slightly darker brown middle and a one-finger light tan head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of caramel malts with booze-soaked dark cherries and just the slightest hint of bourbon.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though with more complexity. Smooth caramel malt flavors with backings of small amounts of bourbon up front are joined by thick dark cherry flavors midway through the sip. Each flavor mentioned above shares an equal part and none are overshadowed by the others. Near the end of the sip a very small amount of rye spiciness kicks in before a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass quickly and could have had another.

Overall this was a very well done beer that's greatest achievement was intensity with subtlety. A number of bright and identifiable flavors co-operating very nicely. Well worth a shot.

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Photo of bhalter8
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was glad to happen upon this beer at Leon's after a Belgian dinner at the Brick Store. What a nice desert! Served in a Brooklyn stemmed glass, the beer has a deep brown hue, with a slight ruby hint around the edges where light brightens the beer. A white one finger head rests atop, and thankfully stuck around for a while, as this beer turned out to be a sipper. Aroma is a mix of alcohol, rye, and a hint of cherry, but not very potent in any of these characteristics. Drinking this beer, I had mixed feelings. On one side, I have to give it credit for accomplishing the essence of a Manhattan in beer form (I am not much of liquor drinker, but this happens to be the one drink I order). The botanicals and rye whiskey barrel aging have given the beer the necessary hints that vermouth adds the mixed drink. The rye itself is not as strong as I had anticipated, and is a bit overtaken by the alcohol and cherry flavor. This is the other side, I felt the cherry presence was just too intense, it added a syrupy sweetness that was a bit much for me. In the end, an amazing blend of flavors, but maybe a bit much of the one. Despite the ABV, and mix of contents, the beer itself is rather thin and light in mouthfeel, however, the intense flavors, and maybe its youthful boozy character make it a sipper for sure. I enjoyed this as a night cap, just like the drink, and would suggest others do the same with this beer's big, complex flavor.

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Photo of Sammy
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Cole's, this black but yeasty beer had a white Caesar head. Stout in aroma and white lace followed. Rich and chocolate in finish, with median mouthfeel. The herbs and rye gave this a sweet, and spicy, taste profile.Alcohol hidden, this was a unique one.

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Photo of MaxBrews
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: On tap into a snifter.

Appearance: Very little head rendered by the stadium pour delivered by the bar tender. (Sigh!) Well with the little head retention or head for that matter there was a firm white lacing. The color was a brownish red, almost eggplant purple in the right light.

Smell: Very aromatic. Many spices; Orange peel, dark fruit, delicate hopping, dark cherries, rye and faint alcohol.

Taste: Taste lots of rye and dark cherries. a touch of orange peel and corriander, a delicate note of alcoholic warmth.

Mouthful: A bit chewy on the palate. A sour bitter note towards the end. It only leaves the mouth.

Drinkability: A very interesting aromatic and herbal and fruity tasting beer. Never had a proper manhattan but now I don't feel the need to. I would like to sample this again as it really is something special and different. I think a few of these is in need to really sort out all the nuances in the beer. If they have this at your local pub by all means get one or two maybe three just keep in mind its 8.5 ABV.

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Photo of John_M
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's during Baltimore Beer Week.

The beer pours a golden brown color with fair head retention and lacing (not really a lot of either). The aroma profile is interesting, but is clearly dominated by a considerable amount of cinnamon. There is also some underlying rye on the nose, and the beer smells as if it will be pretty sweet. In fact it is, and once again I get a considerable amount of cinnamon along with the rye flavor. This is very much a full flavored beer, with a full mouthfeel and a long, sweet finish. As is often the case, the combination of sweetness and noticeable alcohol detract a bit from this beer's drinkability.

An interesting beer, but I cannot imagine ever having more then one small glass of it.

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Photo of DawnL
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brown hue with ample lacing that dissipated into thin sticky lace at the sides.

Not much of an aroma. I was hoping for more of a Rye kick - or at least an herbaceous nose.

The palate was tame. Some Rye characteristics - but again, I was hoping for something more like Black OPs and less like a watered down cocktail.

The mouthfeel was good. The drinkability here is decent, since the rye does not overwhelm the palate. However, I found this brew to be underwhelming and was glad that this was a sample.

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Photo of d0ggnate
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Special thanks to m1ked for grabbing a growler of this beer from the Bowery beer room for me. I miss the beer room, after having visited NYC a few months ago. Even more, I miss Brooklyn beers.

A: Pours a soft reddish/amber with a 1/2 finger mocha/tan head layer. Doesn't appear very carbonated and I poured the beer as to arouse any bubbles left.
S: Sweet aromas of apple and almost maple. Hints of grain, whether rye or malt, but I can't tell.
T: Sweet and more sweet. A bit too much for my taste. Slight bitter hop finish that reminds me this actually is a beer and not a less than stiff cocktail.
M: Smooth and easy drinking. No apparent alcohol until you've had a few sips. Slight warming affect, which again reminds me of drinking a dark cocktail.
D: This beer is actually very cocktail-like. If that is what they were going for, then I feel they nailed it. You could easily fool someone with this one. Now when you tell me it is a beer, a rye beer, I am expecting something else. Great creativity and good execution, but not my favorite beer. I'm rating this beer as exceptionally drinkable, not for the fact that is one of the greatest beers that could be sessionable, but instead it crosses a spectrum that other beers don't. A very creative idea. I wonder what a splash of bourbon would do to this beer?

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another gem that I never thought I would have the chance to try. This one courtesy of Dennis who rushed it down to me for a weekend delivery. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, it was consumed between me and my brother in law on 10/11/2009.

Very dark pour here, dark garnet brown with a huge tan head on top. Slow receding left tons of lacing down the sides of the glass and really gave it a very nice and very complete look. Aroma is huge, lots of spice at first, caramel, molasses, hints of brown sugar and earth, deep hops. Warming brings out some touches of dark fig like fruit notes but nothing like that warm rye touch that really adds to it. As I take the first sip a really wave of caramel and light peppery rye hit the tongue. Light notes of chocolate that come over it wave after wave. Really quite complex and I have to admit not at all what I was expecting. Still very well done. Warming brings out much more sweetness and balance but at the same time it maintains a big profile. Light booziness kicking in now and the sweet finish has a night light hop bite to it.

Overall this was pretty damn solid I have to admit, I was quite impressed with the way it held its own and is definitely a unique offering. Would do this one again.

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Photo of HopHed
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: A burnt redish brown, slightly hazy, little to no head on my pour from keg to pint glass.

AROMA: Very noticeable malt smell with heavy clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and noticeable coriander

FLAVOR: Malty, extremely smooth & rich, very sweet and pretty heavy on the caramel notes. Noticeable spice of clove, and a flavor that reminded me of banana, but that I am guessing was the orange rind with the caramel sweetness of the malt.

PALATE: This is very rich, creamy, and viscously sweet. It fills your mouth with beautiful flavor, and the richness and viscosity coat your tonge for a bit.

NOTES: I feel honored to have had the opportunity to try this, and could drink this stuff all day... and did. The beer very enjoyable, and its 8.5% ABV caught me off guard. It was well balanced, albeit a bit sweet, but not so much that it took away from the complexity of the flavors.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Really nice looking red color. Nice and deep. A half finger of white head with lacing on some pours while none on others.

S: The cherries really come through. Then a nice touch of spiciness. You do get a little bit of the bitters and a touch of the barrel as well. As it warms you do get the vermouth coming in. Quite complex.

T: The cherries and the rye really shine. The malt is really nice and shines through as well. The rye spikes it and gives it a nice kick. Nice spice balanced out by the sweetness.

M: Little bit syrupy but well carbonated for a growler pour.

D: I have been looking forward to this beer for months and it did not disappoint. Totally an extreme beer in every sense. A really nice beer all around. I will probably be able to try this on tap this week and I cannot wait. Get this while you can.

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Photo of Damian
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Drank on-tap at Bukowski's Tavern, Cambridge, MA
Served in a pint glass

The beer poured a deep, crimson-amber color with a creamy, light tan, one-and-a-half finger head that faded to a lasting ring of froth. Spotty drops of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was rich, sweet and malty. Toasty and biscuity with a notes of ripe fruits, spices and honey.

The taste was similar to the aroma. Toasted malts and a super sweet, toffee-like presence came through strong up front. Fruity and spicy in the center. The finish contained a mix of sour rye notes and a cloying, syrupy sweetness.

The mouthfeel was smooth, creamy and fuller bodied with a fine, moderate effervescence.

This beer was a sugary sweet mess. It seemed like the brewers forgot to add the hops to the brew kettle. An interesting "project" for sure, but not something I would want to try again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 10/10/09 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of cherries, rye malts, spices and some hops.

T: The taste is sweet with flavors of cherries, spices and caramel. There's a hearty malt character and a mild hops presence that create a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good kick, I can't really say whether or not it's a good representation of the Rye Beer style since it's unlike any other beer I've ever had in the style, but it does make very good use of the rye malts and is a very good beer overall.

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Photo of steveshields
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy sh___ is this a tasty beer.

Like a previous reviewer said, this is a beer that has been made to taste like a sweet manhattan . I like bourbon and I don't drink manhattans but I know one when I taste one... and this "efffing" beer tastes like a BETTER manhattan. I give it a 4.5 and recommend getting it at Rootstock on draft with all the greatness the place as to offer.

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Photo of koopa
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler (1 of 3) purchased at De Ciccio's in Ardsley NY.

Appearance: Deep garnet to brown body with minimal off white crown. No retention or lace. The body is slightly radiant and attractive.

Smell: Nice notes of vermouth, cherry, lush malt, some type of spice...seems like cinnamon, bitters, etc. Lots going on here.

Taste: A touch malty up front but that quickly gives way to the spice, bitters, and vermouth. A light cherry syrup makes an appearance towards the end.

Mouthfeel: A touch under carbonated but that is probably due to the growler being a week old. As I got towards the bottom of the growler the carbonation concentration seemed to increase. The last few pours even had an off white crown and showed some lace!

Drinkability: Fairly good and probably would have been better when the brew was fresh.

Definitely pushes the envelope of what beer is. I'll lift my's to you Mr. Oliver! Jesus loves you more than you will know...oh wo wo wo.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With the Manhattan Project, Garret and Andrew have reinforced the fact that the United States is the leading beer country in the world!

It is unlike any other beer ever made - totally unique - and it pushes the envelope a little bit further. In Brooklyn style, it also does it with style and grace.

It's an exceptionally tasty beer, and yet it almost doesn't even taste like beer. In fact, I guess I'd say it doesn't taste like beer... what kinds of roads this might lead us down I don't know.

It's a hazy brown beneath a creamy off-white/tan head. The retention is good and it leaves average lacing about the glass.

It's herbal in aroma with a hint of dark fruit and cherry.

The flavor is more cherry-like, and less herbal, although it's still there, and it has just a hint of sourness.

I was given a taste of this blind by the bartender and asked what I thought it tasted like. I said Bourbon and cherry syrup. Then he revealed to me that it was The Manhattan Project. I think they've really nailed it. Amazing!

It finishes with sweet cherry syrup and herbs left on the palate.

Amazing! This is original in all of the world of beer. I find it closest to a kind of Oud Bruin with herbs added, but who knows. All I know is that I paid $10 for a small glass (10 oz.) at the Cafe D'Alsace Manhattan, and I was glad to have it. I'd have enjoyed another at that price without question had I not had to move on. Absolutely worth seeking out just for its uniqueness! Brilliant!

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Photo of mikey711
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: amber color mild carbonation half inch head. Ok lace.

S: some rye, vermouth, a bit estery as well.

T: rye woody some spices, cloves and pepper. Mild whiskey notes and a hint of fruitiness.

M: nice and creamy with a dryness that coats the back of my mouth only mildly boozy.

D: goes down very quickly and does have that manhattan essence

Edited later in the night from a growler:
After having another taste of this beer it grew on me quite a bit. I am not a big liquor drinker but I do enjoy thr occasional manhattan. I really enjoy the vermouth characteristics in the beer. It also gets way better as it warms up. Still not the most aromatic beer, but its uniqueness is great and shows the limitless potential of beer

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Photo of Gmann
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blind Tiger. Pours a pretty dark red/purple color with a soapy head that quickly dissipates into nothingness, flat. The aroma is nothing crazy, peppery & spicy from the rye. The taste is peppery with rye spice/sour flavor. There is a nice berry flavor towards the end, perhaps cherry or raspberry. A solid malt body supports the spicy and fruit flavors. Despite the flat look, the brew has decent carbonation with a light to moderate body, well balanced. A very tasty brew; nice combination of spicy/zest and fruit flavor.

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler pour from Whole Foods Bowery in lower manhattan, NYC, NY. Pours darker brown and murky, under a cap of creamy medium khaki foam, that stays and stays, leaving a full collar as well as fine sheeting and plentiful lace. Earthy nose with vanilla, bourbon and just a hint of rye showing through. Interesting brew, with notes of pumpkin, allspice, vanilla, honey and more bourbon. Full bodied and coating on the tongue. More bourbon as well as smooth malt in the finish. Sophisticated and intriguing. A grown up beer from a grown up brewery

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - A dark amber color with nice red hues. Has a white head that is very dense but recedes quickly and leaves a thin mat.

S - Very grainy and bready. The smell is very faint. There is some sweetness in there and no sign of hops. There is some peppery spice in there as well.

T - A nice malty sweetness that then becomes bready and almost nutty as well. There are spices present such as cilantro and some pepper as well. There is rye in there definitely!!

M - A little on the lighter side could be a little heavier. well carbonated.

D - Refreshing. ABV is hidden well.

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Photo of david18
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When i asked what style this beer is i was told it was an "ale" so I had to base it on my own ability to detect styles. I assumed it was a belgian dark ale but I guess i was way off. It was a good beer, I guess I misinterpreted the rye for beligian yeast effect but in either case it was very enjoyable. Good dark color, very good carbonation, didn't notice the aroma but the taste, mouthfeel and drinkabilty were all good.

Had another one and now i've learned that it's not just a Rye Ale either. It's a rye ale infused with the other flavors that go into the drink Manhattan (bitters, cherry, etc.). Not bad but not too often for me.

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Photo of m1ked
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler from the WF Bowery

A- Pours a clear dark brown red, like root beer. The head was never that big, like maybe 1/4 inch ogf white micro tiny bubbles that turn into a ring around the rim. No streamers seen.

S- A spicy grain, like all-spice, ginger and a hint of banana and bubblegum- not in a hefe sort of way though. There is a hint of booze in there at the end, can't really put a finger on it though. I like the smell, its just not very pronounced.

T- Has a cherry cough syrup (not in a bad way??) sweetness with that allspicy, subtle ginger flavor. It really reminds me of the cardoz batch, but not as light/bright. I am not getting any rye beer or rye whiskey flavors here.** This just in, let it warm up and the rye whiskey notes start to show up**

M- Good crisp sharp bubbles for a brief moment, then gone. Medium bodied. Does seem to leave a coating of the cough syrup flavor that lingers.

D- I'll start off by saying I love the experimentation with themes. I may have been my own worst enemy in as much that I was reallly looking forward to the rye/rye combo inspired by some fancy mixologist guy... I get more of a maraschino cherry flavor than anyting else....It is it supposed to be Manhattan project as in like the drink Manhattan, right? I just wish it had some rye beer flavor, I didn't get any of that- bummer. Cool idea though and a cool beer.

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Photo of phattysbox
2.95/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sampled at Dive Bar on 96th st. in NYC.

Pours an immediate copper-brownish and absolutely clear. Minimal head and hardly any lacing - extremely fine carbonation. The brew looks OK, but thats about it.

Smells of rye and sour notes with minimal hop profile background as expected. Anyone make a Manhattan with hops? There is a caramel and toasty background as well and could very well be from some modified rye malts. Some whisky notes, slight vanilla and vermouth are there in the nose.

Disclaimer: I'm not fond of Manhattans

That being said, the taste was a real let down for me. The rye (30%?) is really apparent with bready, spicy, and sour flavor. The melding of the vermouth notes and rye however really clash for me and is not to my taste. There is a sharp twang that is hard to describe and just rides through the whole experience. Maybe if the beer had less rye or vermouth character one could be more upfront and the other give support. Kinda like a backup singer. This brew is like two rock singers on stage vying for the spotlight - unbalanced. There is a Marris Otter malt profile in the back there as well, something that Garrett does quite well.

Mouthfeel was a bit average as since the carb. was kinda low. I'm sure the drinkability from other that review would be better but from the ABV to the taste - not for me.

An interesting attempt at replicating a cocktail and I'm glad I tried it but won't be seeking it out.

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Photo of TheViceBlog
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Rattle 'N' Hum at last night's event where I also had the pleasure of meeting Garrett Oliver.

A rye beer aged in Rittenhouse Rye whiskey barrels and then infused with botanicals from sweet vermouth and bitters, this beer smells spot-on like a glorious Manhattan and the taste is right there too. It is a most interesting execution, something maybe only Garrett could come up with. Really boozy, you can feel the rye. A little too sweet in a cough-drop type way, but that's a minor quibble. A slightly uneven blending, with a tart cherry finish, this isn't quite as seamlessly smooth as I'd like and I'd probably enjoy a thicker mouthfeel. Or, maybe, I'd just enjoy a straight up 100 proof Manhattan. Naw, this beer is great, a truly sui generis offering. I hope it's around for a long time to come. It's a beer I'm gonna remember for a long time.

I hope Garrett continues pushing the envelope. Maybe he'll whip up a mint julep beer next!


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Brooklyn Manhattan Project from Brooklyn Brewery
3.92 out of 5 based on 88 ratings.
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