Brew Review – Curtain Up by Bay Cannon @baycannonbeer @curtainupbeer

Support live theatre.

It’s easy to sit at home and watch something on TV, but there is something truly magical about live theatre that cannot be replicated in any other form. Unfortunately, because of COVID 19, live theatre, live arts, live performances, and so on have been hit extraordinarily hard.

Restaurants, shopping, and even sports are able to come back in a truncated form, bolstered by the ability to distance effectively while still enjoying the product at hand. Live theater is a bit different, since intimacy is what makes it so special.

Intimacy is also what makes COVID so transmissible, and so theaters, especially on the Great White Way in New York, continue to remain closed to the detriment of the hundreds of thousands of artists in our country.

I would know, since both my wife’s family and my own family have long histories in the theatre and large connections within that industry. That’s why, when I heard about the Curtain Up initiative, I knew this was a bandwagon I had to jump on.

Curtain Up was started by the Happy Hour Guys, a podcast based in New York City hosted by Mark Aldrich and Jimmy Ludwig, two Broadway actors who have been bringing together their love of theatre and craft beer together with some amazing collaborations.

One of those collaborations was with Gun Hill Brewing in the Bronx, and there’s a great video of them creating a beer with the cast of Hamilton that is served to this day at the Richard Rodgers theatre. Or at least it was before theatre shut down and remains closed.

Taking a page from other initiative beers like Resilience and Black Is Beautiful, Gun Hill and the Happy Hour Guys created Curtain Up, a hazy IPA meant to support The Actors Fund, a program that provides financial assistance to out-of-work artists. Being an initiative like this, the recipe is easily downloadable on their website, but also meant to be played with for the breweries that are happily jumping on this program.

Ingredient-wise, there’s a big malt bill of six different malts and a lot of Citra and Centennial done in three different dry hops, the last also adding Azacca and Amarillo.

At this point, there are three different breweries in the state of Florida that are participating in the Curtain Up program. One of those beers, from Bay Cannon Brewing in West Tampa, is currently out and in cans, as Bay Cannon’s special version of Curtain Up (New England IPA, 6.5% ABV).

I recently spoke with Matthew Juaire, co-owner of Bay Cannon, on the Florida Beer Podcast, and he let me know for this particular beer, they decided to stick close to the recipe. It’s interesting, since they are excellent at formulating beers and could easily make delicious changes to the recipe if they wanted.

But being able to see how other breweries are making their beers is a great way for any brewery to learn, and Bay Cannon did it perfectly well. Their version of Curtain Up comes out a very dark white color, close to a hazy witbier. Smelling the aroma, you definitely get a light creamy hop punch, with noticeable notes of grapefruit and orange.

With the flavor of the beer (maybe a little bit lighter than Bay Cannon’s flagship Xander), you get a noticeable amount of alpha acids. They are still kept remarkably low, and allow the big juicy citrus flavors of lemon, grapefruit, orange, and a touch of lime really shine through. It’s very easy to drink, and because the majority of the hops come through in dry hopping, they are able to remove a lot of the bitterness and keep a lot of the bitterness at bay, while allowing the flavors to shine.

It’s easy and simple, but also flavorful and a lot of fun to drink. Bay Cannon’s iteration of Curtain Up will donate to the Actors Fund, their way of supporting live arts in the Tampa area, New York, and around the country.

It’s a fantastic beer made by a lot of fantastic organizations and goes to a great cause, which is a great win for everyone involved including you, the beer drinker. It’s still available in four packs, and if you are in the West Tampa area, please don’t hesitate to get some.

And of course, once it returns, support the live theatre that we have all been sorely missing for some time.

P.S. It’s theatre, not theater.

Drink Florida Craft,


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