A trio of openings show off the Big Apple’s beer chops.
MANHATTAN: Top Hops Beer Shop
Former Anheuser-Busch salesman Ted Kenny opened this Lower East Side tasting room/bottle shop/beer seminary in winter. Savvy beer servers tend the 30-foot bar, pouring from 700 worldly bottles and 20 taps that are part Belgian, part regional (think Long Island’s Captain Lawrence and New Jersey’s River Horse), and mostly American craft seasonals and limited-releases. And hearkening back to his roots, Kenny dedicated a tap line to Budweiser: “When served properly and stored and treated the way the brewer intended, Bud is in fact a good example of American lager,” he says. “Most places don’t treat it properly.” Still, this is beer-geek heaven: A blackboard behind the brews lists the date the keg was tapped and when the draft line was last cleaned, along with the beer style, IBU count, brewery location and tasting notes.
BROOKLYN: One Stop Beer Shop
This East Williamsburg hangout’s got good beer in spades—Kelso Pilsner and Duvel on tap; North Coast and Coney Island bottles—but it’s how owner and bar industry vet Ben Roshia serves them that puts his place on New York’s beer map. If straight beer is all you want, order up a pint or a flight, or have a growler delivered to your doorstep. Feeling adventurous? Order chaser shots of pickle juice and borscht. Or, take beer to new heights with the bar’s thoughtful menu of beer cocktails that elevate (rather than mask) the brew: The list includes gems like the Dark and Smoky, a concoction made of Stone Smoked Porter and moonshine with rosemary, canton and agave, and Montana’s Nose, a mix of Bulldog Gin, Allagash Black and a sprinkle of nutmeg. And when you’ve finally had your fill of beer but still desire something fermented, keep it really Brooklyn and order the kombucha on tap.
MANHATTAN: Growler Station
Manhattan’s brand-new Growler Station is the ultimate spot to get beer in glass. Walk in and select a growler: a 32-ouncer, a 64-ouncer or a 2-liter version lovingly dubbed “The Beast.” Next, choose a beer; 24 faucets rotate everything from Hopfenstark Saison Station 55 to Widmer Bros. O’Ryely IPA. Then, watch the magic happen. The shop’s special dispensers purge oxygen from the container, replace it with CO2, and retain the beer’s environment from keg to growler so it never begins to break down; the result’s a foam-free, fresher handle that’ll last for weeks. On your way out, pull a mixed six-pack from the shop’s 300-plus bottles.
GO NOW: Starting May 25, the New York Historical Society will trace the state’s 350-year beer culture from the colonial era through modern day with Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History. The exhibition explores the nutritional properties of 18th-century beer, large-scale brewing in the industrial revolution, the influence of immigration, technological advances and more through displays of artifacts like brewery ads, sections of 19th-century wooden piping and even a 1779 account book from a Big Apple brewer who sold beer to both the British and patriots. Naturally, the exhibit concludes with a beer hall pouring a few New York-brewed crafts to put the whole exhibit into context. The program runs through Sept. 2.