Michael Tonsmeire Talks Sour Beer Over Brunch at The Good Life

The Good Life Massapequa

The Good Life in Massapequa Park recently hosted a morning of brunch, education and sour beer. And when we say morning, we aren’t kidding. The day began bright and early at 9 a.m. and attracted nearly 40 people to eat, drink and listen to Michael Tonsmeire, author of American Sour Beers, speak.

Pete Mangouranes, owner of the Good Life, is no stranger to beer dinners, but he has only hosted a couple “beer brunches” so far. Andrew Luberto, chair of the education committee for local club Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts approached Mangouranes with the idea. He was interested but had to carefully consider the selections saying, “First thing in the morning even OJ tastes sour.” Though sours are quickly becoming the next big thing in craft beer, they can still be polarizing, so Mangouranes wanted to ease diners into it.

He opened with biscuits and gravy paired with kombucha, which really is a fermented low alcohol tea. “We thought the kombucha was a nice cup of tea, so to say.” Next up was a dry, slightly sour pear cider paired with a tomato frittata. “It’s brunch, there’s gotta be an egg in there somewhere,” says Mangouranes. He closed with a rich, broth based noodle bowl with mushrooms and greens. This was paired with Rodenbach. “I wanted to hit you with a real traditional sour,” he adds.

Though sour beers may sound intimidating or rather unappetizing, Mangouranes created a pairing menu that accented their flavors without overpowering the food. Tonsmeire was able to offer a brief education on the style while even answering questions from some home brewers in the crowd. This duo gave a whole new meaning to the term “boozy brunch.”

This article originally appeared on Edible Long Island.

John Palmer & LIBME Beer Brunch (by Andrew Luberto)

Guest post written by Andrew Luberto
Photos by Jennifer Davis

On Sunday, May 11th author and homebrew guru John Palmer came and visited our homebrew club The Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME). The visit was part of a mini book tour Palmer was doing in conjunction with the Brooklyn Homebrew shop Bitter and Esters to promote his new book Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements), the fourth installment of the ingredient series being published by the Brewers Association.

As head of the education committee for LIBME, I’ve helped arrange a number of educationally related events for the club and it always surprises me how what at first seems like an obstacle to an event later becomes an asset. When John Lapolla, the owner of Bitter and Esters and the person acting as Palmer’s liaison for the weekend, informed me that the only available time that they could fit us in would be 9:00-11:00 a.m. on a Sunday, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. However, when we approached Pete Mangouranes the co-owner of The Good Life, a local craft beer pub and friend of the club, about using his space he had the idea of creating a three course beer brunch to go along with the talk. So because of this early time slot, not only did we have John Palmer coming to speak to our club but we now had a gourmet three course beer brunch to look forward to as well. Apparently a John Palmer seminar now fits into that rare category alongside fishing and golf as being socially acceptable to consume alcohol at 9 in the morning.


Todd Long (LIBME President), John Palmer & Andrew Luberto

On top of that, the day before the event Pete texted me about being on the fence with his first beer for the brunch, what he had in mind was the 17% Mephistopheles by Avery. Pete was concerned about a beer that big that early to start off a brunch.  Unfortunately, Pete happened to text me while I was at Blue Point Brewery for the AHA Big Brew day and a 17% beer at 9 am seemed to make sense in the crowded celebratory atmosphere I was in at the moment. The next morning when I thought about it again I had serious misgiving to say the least; when I voiced them to Pete he shrugged nonchalantly and said “eh, make everybody friendly.”


Looking back it was indeed very friendly. John Palmer was remarkably easy going about the whole event, even when my wife accidently hit the play button on his lap top a few times while helping to advance his power point slides, kicking in an unintended soundtrack over his talk. Members of some of the other local homebrew clubs also attended after we extended an invitation to them, giving us an opportunity to float ideas about coordinated regional homebrew events. Afterwards John Lapolla said he’d be in touch and “plan our takeover of the world.” Everyone was on the same page, collaboration and growth. It occurred to me that our local event that day was a small microcosm of the craft beer world in general, where everyone is working towards the greater good and general advancement of the industry, hobby, and appreciation of craft beer. And it felt good.