Between the best seats at the Jimmy Fallon show and listening to Peter Parker sing, my family and I went on a trip to Brooklyn Brewery. The frigid conditions outside would have made the warm interior enticing even if they didn’t have beer. We made it through the entrance and hoped to be welcomed with a delicious Brooklyn beverage, however the party like atmosphere and 50 deep line prevented us from getting one before the tour. While short and confined to the bottling and kegging areas, the tour was very entertaining and informative. While the tour guide provided detailed explanations of every part of the brewing process, the only thing missing from the explanation was an actual tour. We stayed in one place for the entire speech and it wasn’t until after words that were able to roam within a confined space and take supervised pictures. I took the time to walk around and snag some photos, but ultimately I was just delaying the inevitable line.
The Brooklyn Brewery has a very unique atmosphere. It may be because Brooklyn is such a populated area and just minutes away from the largest concentration of craft beer drinkers in the country, but this place was absolutely packed. There were roughly 17 large tables with crowds of generally younger patrons all playing board games, drinking games, and generally lounging around casually. I like the idea of this, but it so drastically affected the ability to get a beer or sit and enjoy the beer, that I ended up wishing that most people would get up and run out of the building screaming.
Rather than having a price list for beer patiently waiting for you at the end of the line, they expedited the process by charging tokens. For five dollars a token or five tokens for twenty dollars, you can receive and barter with one circle wooden equivalent of a beer. Armed with this, the giant blackboard with beer names, and a smartphone with the BeerAdvocate website loaded, we planned our beers. Ordering two at a time seemed to be the trick to beating the line, so I anticipated a Brooklyn Blast and a Companion ale keeping my eager hands cool momentarily. However, once we reached the front of the line we found out that beers with a high alcohol percentage are two tokens. If you were paying attention earlier that means they were anywhere from 8-10 dollars depending on how you acquired your tokens. We nursed our few beers while we stood amongst the crowd a then head back into the cold.
I liked Brooklyn for it’s approach to a production style brewery, but it definitely wasn’t what I expected. Other than the enthusiastic guide, the Brooklyn Brewery feature that I enjoyed most was the way they embraced their history. Surrounding the tasting room was some of the original sketches of their logo and even bottles from Brooklyn based breweries long predating the one we were in. Next time I go I will try to make it during the week or at least never again on a Saturday.
I’m not so much interested in trying to critique beer, but I will say something about Brooklyn Brewery. Prior to visiting I had only known Brooklyn for their lager and had forgotten about beers such as Local 2 and Post Road. When I got there I wasn’t expecting much, so I ordered based on the suggestion of an experienced vet. She recommended the Brooklyn Blast, a Double IPA. I won’t go into much more detail, but I will say that this trip changed my mind regarding Brooklyn and I will gladly seek out new beers that carry their name.