Beer is no longer just the drink of frat boys and old guys.
A number of Brooklyn bars have elevated the quintessential pub quaff to new heights, celebrating the yeasty beverage the way that gourmands cheer a fine wine or a superb whisky.
And with Oktoberfest upon us, The Brooklyn Paper has compiled this comprehensive guide to help you a bar where ordering anything other than a beer would be a tragic mistake.
You’ve heard of bottle service, but have you heard of beer bottle service? That’s the name of the game at the this Williamsburg staple, where the solid selection of tap and cask beers are dwarfed by an epic menu of more than 100 bottled beers, many of them Belgian microbrews. It’s OK to ask the bartender for help choosing your next beer because the chalkboard menu can get a little hard to read after two or three of those Flemish lagers.
Spuyten Duyvil [359 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street, (718) 963-4140].
Every day is Oktoberfest at Radegast, where the bartenders fill steins the size of your head with 13 draft imports from Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Belgium. Find a spot in the old-country-styled main room or settle down at a picnic table in the heated biergarten and enjoy bratwurst and a pitcher of Gaffel Kolsch or Weihenstephaner Vitus with your friends — or members of the lederhosen-clad polka band that just finished its set.
Radegast Hall & Biergarten [113 N. Third St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3973].
Connoisseurs flock to this tiny Atlantic Avenue tavern to sample rare cask ales. The hand-pumped brews — which are served 12 degrees warmer than other tap beers — come unfiltered and unpasteurized, meaning they pack a more nuanced flavor. Though the Brazen Head is known around the borough for its craft beers and its two cask offerings (currently Bluepoint Oatmeal Stout and River and River Horse Hop Hazard Dry-Hopped Pale Ale), the brew maestros also serve reasonably priced tap beers and $2 cans of PBR.
Brazen Head [228 Atlantic Ave. between Boerum Place and Court Street, (718) 488-0430].
Ever hear of decidophobia? It’s the fear of making decisions — and it’s an illness that afflicts many beer lovers when they peruse the extensive beer list at this tavern. With more than two-dozen beers on tap and more in bottles, it can be hard to make a choice, but Fourth Avenue Pub’s friendly bartenders are always willing to pour samples to help you make up your mind. Plus there’s a backyard garden, cozy wooden booths, and an endless supply of free popcorn.
Fourth Avenue Pub [76 Fourth Ave. between Bergen Street and St. Marks Place, (718) 643-2273].
The carefully curated brews at Beer Table have turned this Seventh Avenue nook into a Mecca for suds lovers. Grab a seat at one of the three communal tables and order from the ever-changing bottle and draft selections, which at the time of publication included Victory Prima Pils, cask-aged Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, and bottles of Birra del Borgo 25 Dodici. The venue also serves a three-course supper on Tuesdays with beer pairings for $40. The prices ain’t cheap, but neither is a fine bottle of wine.
Beer Table [427 Seventh Ave. between 14th and 15th streets, (718) 965-1196].
This swank DUMBO watering hole is as elegant as a beer bar can get. The spacious second-floor loft is outfitted with the kind of classy décor that some might think is a better match for cocktails than pale ales — but beer drinkers will feel at home once they see the 15 taps and the lengthy bottled beer list. The menu favors Belgian brews and Trappist ales, but ReBar patrons will also find a healthy spattering of German drinks like Samiclaus, English offerings from Samuel Smith, and American samplings like cave-aged Ommegang.
ReBar [147 Front St. between Jay and Pearl streets, (718) 766-9110].
For years, Bay Ridge’s unpretentious Bean Post Pub has been quietly keeping beer lovers hydrated with 21 draft beers and 60 bottled brews. Considering that a fine beer tastes best when paired with fried food and sports, the bar has 11 TVs tuned to the action and a kitchen that churns out solid pub grub.
Bean Post Pub [7525 Fifth Ave. at 76th Street, (718) 745-9413].
Draft Barn hung its Habsburg-inspired flag on Third Avenue last November and if you drank a different beer every day, you might not have gotten through the collection yet.
Owner George Mitelman offers 250 varieties in an ever-changing menu of bottles and tap brews, including Thomas Hardy’s Ale, a vintage brew from Devon, England; and Goose Island Matilda, a strong, Trappist-inspired Chicago ale. In the comfort of its all-wood sitting area, customers can drink while watching all the major sporting events — even pay-per-view fights! — while the kitchen offers Hungarian fare. Try the goulash or the hand-made sausages.
Draft Barn [Third Avenue between 12th and 13th streets, (718) 768-0515].