New York Beer: Brooklyn Brewery
One of the things I was really looking forward to on our trip to New York in November was a visit to the Brooklyn Brewery. Brooklyn Lager was a beer that really took me by surprise when I tried it for the first time a few years ago.
Along with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, it’s one of the first US craft beers I became aware of, and is increasingly available in the UK, sometimes finding its way into the fridges of bars which are otherwise completely uninteresting. Since then, I’ve also become a big fan of the EIPA and especially the Black Chocolate Stout. Before we visited the Brewery, we’d already tried the Winter Ale and the Brewmaster’s Reserve Cuvee Noire in bars in Manhattan.
Happy Hour at the Brewery starts at 6pm and runs to 11pm every Friday, when they put out long tables and set up a bar offering an exciting range of familiar and unfamiliar Brooklyn beers. Unfortunately I was an idiot and thought it started at 4pm, so we turned up in Williamsburg two hours early. It didn’t escape my notice that I had failed to adequately organise an actual piss-up in a brewery.
Funny place, Williamsburg: it’s full of hipsters with their tight check shirts, skinny trousers and thick-rimmed specs, but at the same time has parts that appear quite poor and/or post-industrial. It seems a bit like North-East London, in that way.
After initially being a bit wary about spending two hours there, we found the Brooklyn Ale House (a quiet, friendly, dark little pub) and sat at the bar for a while with a Blue Point Toasted Lager and an Anchor Humming Ale (both keg). We then went on to Mug’s Ale House for some sticky BBQ chicken wings, an Anchor Stout (cask) and Liberty Ale (keg).
When me made it to the brewery and negotiated our way past the firm but fair bouncer (Kate didn’t have ID with her), we bought our beer tokens and headed to the bar. It was cold in the big room, but it was starting to fill up. There were pizza menus out on the table for people to order in from outside and large groups of principally young, trendy people started to fill the tables. We started on the East India Pale Ale on keg, before trying two Brewmaster’s Reserve beers: Detonation and Crash, both of which were strong, hoppy Imperial IPAs.
Having enjoyed everything we tried, we weren’t up for a very heavy night in Brooklyn, so headed back to the L station at Bedford Avenue and under the East River to midtown Manhattan. However, I was glad we came to Brooklyn and I’d like to visit the brewery again on a weekend for a tour, possibly combined with a return visit to Mug’s and dinner in the Peter Luger Steakhouse.