Look, I know there’s a shed-load of beer related recommendations that anyone who’s visited New York could give you but in this blog I’ve decided to shortlist a few places that I absolutely loved on my last two visits. There were lots more awesome places that I had a tasty beer or two in and probably around a hundred more I didn’t actually get to visit.
“An obvious choice,” I can hear you yelling right now but this brewery tour really was a highlight of my trip last April. Laid-back, friendly and informative, it really was a lovely moment to listen to our tour guide regaling tales of the brewery’s history. My favourite bit was hearing how owners Tom and Steve persuaded legendary graphic designer, Milton Glaser to create a logo for the then named, Brooklyn Eagle Brewery in exchange for an equity stake and beer of course – which he’s still going to collect to this day!
If that’s not enough you get to taste some very exclusive small batch brews direct at source – come the hell on, that’s worth the trip alone isn’t it?
Address: 79 N 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA
Tour Bookings: We took the ‘Small Batch’ tour for $18 – book now
If you’re going to visit Brooklyn Brewery you might as well take a 6-minute walk to this little gem. The vibe was happy and chilled with regulars chewing the fat over banging chicken wings and some of Greenpoint’s small batch offerings. The brewery has a five-barrel system and their mantra is ‘we make beers we like to drink’ and who can argue with that?
Address: 7 N 15th St, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
Menu/taplist: visit website
When looking for this brewery I was like: “where is it?!”
Nestled between the hustle and bustle of Downtown Brooklyn which was sort of like an English high street with Circa tucked away in a row of retailers. We actually thought it was closed from across the street but plucked up the courage to explore further and as we swung the doors open, we knew this was a place for us. We visited on a Monday lunchtime and although a little quiet, this 6,000 sq.ft brewery and taproom had a rather bright and friendly vibe.
We took a seat at the bar and salivated when looking at both the beer and food menus. The vegetarian food options were plentiful and after an initial spell of hangry induced indecisiveness we settled on ‘The Choke’ pizza with marinated artichoke, pesto, sweet drop peppers, red onion, stilton, mozzarella – yum. As Circa stipulates that it’s a wood-fired pizza restaurant on its website I expected the pizza to be pretty good but what took me by surprise was the fact that both that pizza and the Cauliflower Caponata Wrap we had still feature heavily in my food dreams today.
I really got lost when thinking about that food again so I must focus on telling you about the beer! The only thing to do on a flying visit is grab a flight – I sampled Circa’s Chai Stout which was pretty crazy, the Nitro Bitter, Spruce Ale and the Rotator IPA which was certainly perfect to wash down that tasty vegan food with.
Address: 141 Lawrence St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Menu/taplist: visit website
Situated right under the imposing Gowanus Express Way that leads to the Brooklyn bridge, this brewery and taproom was heaving when we visited early on a Saturday eve. There’s no question that the beer is great but the atmosphere when we visited was a little meh. We actually only stayed for two drinks because it was wall-to-wall hipsters and there was an excessive amount of posing and moodiness surrounding us which was a shame as I’d been so looking forward to visiting. It still gets a place in this highlights though as you’ll kick yourself if you miss out on their amazing beers.
Next time I visit, I’ll go back in the daytime and take my sweet-ass time sipping all their menu has to offer.
Address: 195 Centre St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Check out events/taplist: visit website
Mother of Pearl NY
Big “thanks” to my friend Don who introduced me to this place on my last visit. I liked it so much that I’d probably live in there if they’d have me! Not a beer-bar at all but a rather quirky little Polynesian tiki bar in the East Village that offers an amazing vegan drink and food menu.
We drank Geyser Gose the collab brew from Evil Twin and Two Roads breweries which absolutely blew my mind! With ingredients sourced from Iceland including Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr and birch smoked sea salt the flavour combo was out of this world. Think a light sour, citrussy fizz with some herbal qualities but not too much to make it over-powering. I so wish I could get another can of this in the UK.
I must not forget to give a massive applause for the cocktails. I started with the ‘Shark Eye’ which arrived in a shark funnily enough but the added edge for this was the ‘blood’ spattered over it at the table. If you have a sweet tooth you should definitely order the ‘Taste the Rainbow’ and a must-sip is the ‘Sugar Cane Magik’ – a combo of pineapple, lime. Almond, Ron Zapaca Solera which was absolutely moorish (our party of 3 must have ordered at last 10 of these). I think these cocktails might be some of the best I’ve ever had – take me back now please.
“Thank-you” to Selma Slabiak who looked after us for the evening and I urge you to get her book called the ‘Spirit of the North’ with cocktail recipes and stories from Scandinavia. This will most definitely be taking my cocktail making skills up a notch.
Address: 95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Check out the menu: visit website