Amar Stewart x BeerCanvas

The other night, we had our friends from @BeerCanvas come by to talk about beer, NYC, their recent collaboration with Amar, and of course, Hip-Hop.

Your instagram account is awesome.  But it’s completely anonymous. Why do you choose to keep a low profile?

There’s two parts to this.  First, BeerCanvas is the brand.  I’m not the brand. It’s really all about the beer so why should I put my face on it?  There’s also something cool about people not knowing who you are and what you’re doing and being able to have a normal conversation with somebody.

Why are you excited to team up with Amar?

I’ve always wanted to incorporate art.  Our glass is the first time I’ve connected with an artist to do something specific.  Bringing together the art scene and the craft beer scene just makes so much sense. There’s a lot of crossover between the two.  There’s artists who love craft beer and craft beer enthusiasts who love art.

What other artwork do you feature on glasses?

I started with emoji’s because they are actually decent artwork.  Look at the desert emoji, the violin emoji, there is real detail there. Plus, they were already a big part of the BeerCanvas brand.

What is the highest selling emoji glass of all time?

The highest selling emoji glass of all time is the fire emoji.  But, to be fair, I sold more of those than I made of any other glass.

How has beer culture changed over the years in NYC?

When I moved to NYC in 2012, the beer scene hadn’t nearly matured to where it is now.  The Barclays Center did not even exist then, now you have Mikkeller in Citi Field. That’s how much things have changed here.  It’s a good time for beer consumers though… breweries keep raising their game because the competition is so intense.

What is BeerCanvas doing for beer culture in NYC?

BeerCanvas started in 2015.  At the time, I thought - what can I provide for beer culture? I was already trading pretty heavily so I figured cataloging trades, hauls from local breweries, and how each beer poured could be interesting and helpful. No one else in NYC really seemed to be focusing on that. But things have changed over time. BeerCanvas’s goal now is to make NYC the number one beer destination in the country. I think building up the culture and bringing people together through events will help achieve that.

What’s the story behind the towel in all your photos?

There are thousands of beer accounts on Instagram today, but ironically the thing that makes my pictures recognizable is that towel in every single photo.  My mom had given me a 4 piece set of these dish towels in college. After hand washing, I would put my glassware on the towels to dry. The towel didn’t fit on the table so I folded it (hence the fold at the edge of the towel in the photos).  I was living in this relatively shitty apartment at the time and there was no other place in the apartment with a flat surface and a white backdrop to take pictures of beer. So I just started taking pictures where the towel was. Now the towel comes everywhere with me and has become a signature piece of the brand.

How does NYC stack up against other regions?

Beer culture is blowing up in NYC, I’ve never seen anything like it.  But here’s a funny story that made me realize how much work is left to do.  Last year I went to a strip club in Portland, Oregon called Acropolis. And the strippers at this club were great, but they were probably like the third coolest thing there.  They had farm to table filet mignon for $11 and 64 local taps - with $4 pours! That was sort of the expectation wherever I went there and it was eye-opening just how ingrained it is in the culture. So while NYC is blowing up, we’re not quite there yet haha. There are probably a handful of other places that still have a slight edge today.

What’s your number one beer destination?

Belgium.  No question.

What are your favorite breweries within the five boroughs?

I don’t think there’s one brewery in the five boroughs that is the best top to bottom with every style. So I think it really depends on what you want.  If you want an IPA - Other Half, LIC, Interboro, and Fifth Hammer are pumping out fire. As far as sours go, LIC and KCBC do a good job. Far as Stouts, Finback does really really well with the stouts, Other Half definitely improved and Interboro put out some great shit with that BA Ambassador.  Then there’s Five Boroughs Brewery, who’s summer ale is amazing. Folksbier has the German styles dialed in. Sixpoint is doing some cool stuff with their small batch program. Threes has awesome beer and is probably my favorite space. Plus we have Evil Twin and Grimm on the way. There’s honestly not one brewery I don’t like, so it’s a bit of a can’t lose situation here.

What artists are on your June playlist?

It’s all Biggie, Tupac, Big Pun, Big L, and Jadakiss.

Who are some of all your all-time favorites?

Jadakiss, obviously Jay-z and Nas. I really like Dave East right now, and Lloyd Banks (one of my all time favs).  I like all the city rappers - Fab, Action, mixtape French, and them. From the West Coast I loved Eazy-E, man.  He was just hard, his personality and his voice. I’m a rap fan, I like rappers. I think similar to classic rock, rap had it’s golden era and we’re almost transitioning into a different musical style entirely now.  

What were your first albums?

Me Against the World - Tupac, No Way Out - Puff Daddy Collaboration with Biggie and the Lox, and that Shaggy album.